Azure multi-access edge compute (MEC) solutions solving enterprise needs
Published Oct 12 2022 09:10 AM 6,460 Views
Microsoft

Joe Biron, General Manager, Azure Strategic Missions Marketing

 

In just over one year, we’ve expanded our edge offerings for customers and developers to meet their evolving needs, including Azure private MEC and Azure public MEC. Today, we are announcing the general availability of Azure public MEC, including select partners from our growing ecosystem that are delivering low-latency, high bandwidth solutions for a variety of enterprise use cases. With Azure private and public MEC, we are collaborating with operators, system integrators, and ISVs to deliver innovative solutions that meet enterprise needs at the edge. 

 

Delivering innovative enterprise solutions with Azure public MEC 

Earlier this year, we offered a preview of Azure public MEC to enable enterprises and developers to create innovative applications using operators’ public 5G networks, bringing the most latency-sensitive and time-critical parts of the solution architecture to the network edge. 

 

With Azure public MEC, organizations can analyze data closer to the point of capture, enabling operations teams to make decisions in near real-time. Developers can use our platform to rapidly create and deliver a broad collection of low-latency applications, helping to solve critical business problems. Azure public MEC with AT&T 5G network will be available in November in Atlanta and Dallas. Additional sites will be coming soon to Detroit and New York City. 

 

Working in collaboration with telecom operators like AT&T and ISV partners, we’re actively creating impactful solutions to solve business-critical problems, while creating new revenue opportunities for our enterprise customers. Some of the top use cases for the Azure public MEC solution stem from areas as diverse as smart cities, public infrastructure, gaming, stadiums & venues, retail, healthcare, and automotive in-vehicle experiences. 

 

“The pairing of AT&T’s 5G connectivity with the Azure public MEC solution will enable a variety of use cases that require high-performance and low latency,” says Cameron Coursey, VP – Mobility Products and Platforms. “Seeing customers tap into the technology to enhance the fan experience in venues with innovative, real-time content is just the beginning. The possibilities – both within the ecosystem and for customers – are really exciting.” 

 

We designed our public MEC with AT&T to help improve the performance of real-time applications used by consumers and connected machines. Our testing shows significant results, including:  

  • 26% reduction in ping, or ICMP response time 
  • 20% reduction in jitter, the variance in latency on the network 
  • 36% improvement in time to first byte 

This is only the start of collaborative possibilities that offer profound opportunities across many industries. 

 

Creating new business values for enterprises 

We are continuing to make significant investments in Azure public MEC, empowering enterprises to create dynamic, modern solutions that open new business scenarios, developers to power through their low-latency applications scenarios, and our partner ecosystem to open new enablement opportunities.  

 

We’ve brought together partner stories that demonstrate how enterprise customers are creating new business value, you can watch their testimonial videos here about working with Microsoft to deliver Azure public MEC solutions across a spectrum of use cases. 

 

Offering fans more to cheer about in connected stadiums from ProWire 

ProWire is enhancing in-stadium live-event experiences for fans on their smartphones by providing exclusive venue content. ProWire Edge is a connected stadium solution based on ProWire’s patented streaming technology and powered by AT&T’s mmWave frequency band 5G network. ProWire Edge enables fans to access exclusive, real-time audio streams on their smartphones using a venue or team application.  

 

“ProWire Edge is the future of real-time content delivery for connected venues, and we’re excited to debut it with Microsoft and AT&T,” says Gordon Sumner, CEO, ProWire. “Now, we’re able to offer near real-time content delivery to any venue in proximity to an Azure public MEC site while virtually eliminating our venue footprint.” 

 

The exclusive content could include things like sports play-by-play actions, live sound effects, alternative language tracks and original content from teams. Plus, the same application has even greater value for team staff, in future it can also be used to deliver real-time audio and video (e.g., instant replays). 

 

Accelerating edge-based service delivery with Spirent 

Spirent’s benchmarking and service assurance solutions can be used with Azure public MEC, providing a versatile approach to network performance assessment for a variety of applications and industries. Spirent enables developers, enterprises, and partners to manage every lifecycle aspect from service activation and change management, to monitoring and fault isolation with end-to-end and pinpointed visualizations that identify issues before users are impacted.  

 

“Over the past year, Spirent has supported Microsoft and AT&T‘s certification of the underlying infrastructure while assuring the resiliency, security, and performance of the new Azure public MEC,” said Doug Roberts, GM & SVP of Spirent’s Lifecycle Service Assurance business. “Through this collaboration, Microsoft is well-positioned to both support and accelerate the adoption of any edge-based service delivery model.” 

 

With Spirent, users can measure performance metrics including latency, jitter, and bandwidth usage, in addition to validating services and applications deployed on the Azure public MEC solution. This provides a robust validation and ongoing assurance approach for mission-critical scenarios in healthcare, gaming, autonomous vehicles, and other real-time applications. You can learn more about how this solution can be leveraged by your business when you view the proof-of-concept video with Spirent and AT&T. 

 

Improving velocity and strengthening edge security with Zero Trust Edge Fabric from NetFoundry 

NetFoundry Zero Trust Edge Fabric with Azure public MEC enables simplified zero trust networking across edge and cloud.  Developers use the solution to extend zero trust networking into the process space of their applications, eliminating dependencies on complex connectivity infrastructure. This solution provides developers with enhanced security across Azure public MEC, Azure private MEC, and Azure cloud regions.  NetFoundry built the solution with the open source OpenZiti Zero Trust Networking Platform (which NetFoundry originated and is the leading maintainer of), enabling Azure developers with extensibility and flexibility to create and deliver secure next-generation applications. 

 

“Microsoft's innovative Azure public MEC solution enables their developers to rapidly implement low latency, high-performance applications,” says Galeal Zino, NetFoundry CEO. “The integrated NetFoundry Zero Trust Edge Fabric effectively puts the power of a distributed Azure deployment into the application itself.” 

 

NetFoundry is a great example of an ISV for enterprise Azure public MEC customers looking to enhance security and eliminate infrastructure. Business applications span industries – for example, a healthcare application developer can now route each service API endpoint independently and directly to its edge or cloud destination, with mTLS and zero trust security. There are vast opportunities for solution optimization because the developers control the zero-trust network from their applications, easily leveraging distributed Azure compute. 

 

Enhancing communications and worker safety with Azure private MEC 

Microsoft’s partner ecosystem is actively developing solutions for customers across several industries that utilize their proven technology on Azure private MEC to help enterprises meet their digital transformation goals.    

 

OCI is a global producer and distributor of hydrogen-based products, providing low-carbon fertilizers, fuels, and feedstock to agricultural and industrial customers around the world via their production facilities in Iowa and Texas. The company was looking for a secure, reliable solution to help manage frontline workers. They chose the weavixInternet of Workers platform powered by Azure private MEC and using the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) for reliable communications within the field. The walt™ smart radio system, also by weavixTM, gives every worker instant access to the Internet of Workers platform.  

 

“As an IT director, the challenges that we face trying to erect a Wi-Fi network across our 370-plus acre complex are enormous,” says Larry Rasmussen, IT Director, IFCo, a division of OCI. “We saw an opportunity to extend access to our complete Microsoft portfolio across the entire complex, because weavixTM connects back into our infrastructure.” 

Here, the weavixTM Internet of Workers platform powered by Azure private MEC is transforming the future of work by equipping every worker with a device and gathering data to provide operations teams with actionable insights to maximize productivity and realize the full potential of field workers.  

 

“It’s great to see how customers like OCI are applying our technology to real-world problems and getting results that have a true business impact,” says Kevin Turpin, CEO, weavixTM. “And it’s all using a single device.” 

 

Watch this video to learn more. 

 

Learn More  

Microsoft is committed to enabling enterprises and developers to take full advantage of high-performance applications at the edge. We invite you to learn more about Azure public MEC or Azure private MEC, and to see what we can do for you and your customers. 

 

  • Azure public MEC: To learn more and engage with us to build the next-generation enterprise applications, we invite enterprises and developers to contact us. ISV partners, connect with us to solve customer challenges together. 
  • Azure private MEC:  Application ISVs interested in deploying their industry or horizontal solutions on Azure should begin by onboarding their applications to Azure Marketplace. Platform partners, operators, and SIs interested in partnering with Microsoft to deploy or integrate with Azure private MEC can get started by reaching out to the Azure private MEC team. 
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