AT&T and Google Cloud say they have been developing edge solutions for the enterprise for over a year. The two companies are now taking the next step to deliver capabilities that help businesses drive value and build solutions in retail, healthcare, manufacturing, entertainment and others — with the ability to use Google Maps, Android, Pixel, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), and other solutions across Google for immersive customer experiences. For example:
- Enabling video analytics services to help businesses across industries with theft prevention, crowd control, and queue prediction and management.
- In retail: Streamlining and automating inventory management, connecting brick-and-mortar, and ecommerce and backend systems for near real-time visibility into operations.
- In healthcare: Scaling access to services like telehealth-based therapy, using AR and VR for remote care either from patients’ homes or at an onsite facility.
- In manufacturing: Accelerating operations with remote support and quality control checks at plant locations, and optimising bandwidth usage by streaming video on the edge rather than on-device.
- In entertainment: Enhancing in-venue experiences for concerts and sporting events, with solutions ranging from immersive AR and VR experiences, smart parking and ticketless entry, to contactless food and souvenir payment.
The companies say they are also working together to evaluate how network APIs could optimise applications, using near real-time network information at the Google Cloud edge. If successful, this would allow them to optimise the user experience at the edge and drive meaningful outcomes for businesses.
AT&T Multi-access Edge Compute (MEC) with Google Cloud combines AT&T’s existing 5G and fully managed MEC offering with core Google Cloud capabilities, including Kubernetes, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), data analytics, and a robust edge ISV ecosystem. With the solution, enterprises can build and run modern applications close to their end users, with the flexibility to manage data on-prem, in a customer’s data centre, or in any cloud. All this can help customers to increase control over data, improve security, lower latency and provide higher bandwidth.
They say, AT&T Network Edge (ANE) with Google Cloud will enable enterprises to deploy applications at Google edge points of presence (POPs), which will be connected to AT&T’s 5G and fibre networks. In this low-latency compute and storage environment, businesses can deliver faster, more seamless enterprise and customer experiences. AT&T and Google Cloud are focusing on a multi-year strategy to bring the solution to 15+ zones across major cities, starting with Chicago this year. We expect to roll out the solution next in Atlanta, Dallas, Miami, and San Francisco.
Google Cloud vice president global telecom media and entertainment solutions George Nazi said, “By combining the power of AT&T 5G and Google Cloud technologies, we are helping enterprises create new customer experiences and business services that were previously impossible.
“Together with AT&T, we are committed to enabling our customers to build and deliver next-generation applications, whether on-premise or on AT&T’s leading mobile network.”
AT&T Business chief product and platform officer Rasesh Patel said, “With premises-based 5G and network edge computing, we give our customers even greater control of where their data goes and how they use it – at higher speeds and with lower latency. These capabilities allow businesses to deliver unique experiences to their customers, today and into the future.
“We’re bringing forth a new era where the latest technological advancements, including 5G and edge computing, make it possible to transform, innovate and prepare for whatever the future holds.”
IDC research manager for 5G and mobile services research Jason Leigh said, "5G, cloud services and edge compute each have a tremendous amount of promise as standalone technologies.
"But coupling these three as complimentary, enabling technologies both accelerates and extends the promise of digital transformation in many more business settings."