MWC 2019: AT&T tests 5G and edge computing with Microsoft Azure

AT&T and Microsoft Azure are exploring a combination of their 5G, LTE, edge compute, and cloud services for IoT businesses.

AT&T has announced at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019 that it is working with Microsoft on a proof of concept to integrate network edge compute capabilities with its 5G network and Azure cloud services.

"We're testing our ability to substantially reduce latency and improve user experience by deploying advanced cloud services in specific geographic locations closer to business sites," AT&T explained on Tuesday afternoon in Barcelona.

The solution would be important for the industries and Internet of Things (IoT) use cases of retail, healthcare, public safety, entertainment, and manufacturing, AT&T said, as it would provide businesses with lower latency, access to high compute power, and network routing without needing on-premises hardware.

"Our collaboration will pave the way to enable Microsoft Azure cloud services to connect to more customers and devices across the US through AT&T's nationwide wireless network," Microsoft corporate VP of Azure Networking Yousef Khalidi said.

"Our two companies are working together to achieve the low-latency connectivity needed for the explosion of devices and immense amount of data being created by computing at the edge."

AT&T is using drones to test the network edge compute capabilities with Azure, working with Israel-based startup Vorpal in its foundry in Plano, Texas.

Vorpal's VigilAir product detects and geolocates drones in real-time, which could be used by law enforcement agencies and airports.

"By running their VigilAir application using Azure cloud services delivered through the Plano AT&T test environment, and connecting their drone-tracking sensors using AT&T LTE and 5G networks, Vorpal could achieve the low latency and compute scalability required," the carrier said.

Also at MWC 2019, AT&T announced work with Vodafone Business on IoT applications for the automotive space, including safety, security, and entertainment.

The two said they would develop connected car solutions across 5G and autonomous vehicle technology; vehicle-to-everything (V2X) capabilities; in-vehicle entertainment; connected car applications and services; global service quality models; and the intersection of connected cars and smart cities.

MWC 2019 Coverage