Verizon’s AWS Outposts tie-up points to deepening edge relationship

Verizon’s AWS Outposts tie-up points to deepening edge relationship

Verizon will add Amazon’s Outposts ‘data center in a box’ to its product roster, broadening the edge alliance between the two organizations. Verizon will market the combined offering to enterprises wishing to run on-site 5G networks in private locations like factories.

Fiber optic equipment maker Corning is already using Outposts in tandem with a Verizon-installed 5G network in a facility in North Carolina, according to the company. Sensor data is analyzed locally using machine learning algorithms and the insights gathered help reduce demand for compute as well as battery capacity.

Verizon was a launch partner of another AWS edge product, Wavelength, over a year ago and this latest announcement seems to be pointing to a deeper relationship between the two companies. But just because Verizon seems to be engaging more and more with AWS that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have other options when it comes to the edge. The telco announced a tie-up with Microsoft Azure last autumn, and the two have a joint customer in Ice Mobility which is using 5G and MEC (mobile edge computing) integrated with Microsoft Azure. As with Verizon/AWS Outpost, the setting is a factory, but in this case, the main goal is to improve quality control.

Some commentators have said that Verizon feels AWS’s offerings in this area are more mature than Microsoft’s but it’s also likely that Amazon’s wholly managed delivery model is more attractive to a carrier than Microsoft’s, which requires engagement with multiple partners. Apart from maturity, Microsoft’s acquisition of Affirmed Networks and Metaswitch in 2020 might be seen as placing Microsoft in competition with telcos for wireless network management. While its partners might not like the prospect, they might be better off continuing with their Microsoft relationship to ensure they are meeting enterprise demand for private wireless networks while improving their bargaining power with AWS.

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