Nokia killed two strategic birds with one edge networking stone Monday by announcing several enterprise applications developed specifically for mobile edge computing (MEC) environments.
This move ties in Nokia's renewed efforts to appeal to enterprise users: The Finnish giant needs to diversify its customer base and the AlcaLu acquisition has given it fresh impetus to do just that. (See Nokia's Leprince Wants to Be King of Enterprise.)
It also gives new impetus for Nokia's MEC story, which is not new: The vendor first unveiled its proposition under the imaginative title Liquid Applications in early 2013, when it also unveiled the radio applications cloud server (RACS) that could perform the requisite edge computing processes. (See NSN & Intel Get Edgy and NSN: Understanding Liquid Applications.)
Now Nokia is freshening up that story by unveiling some specific applications -- to enable object tracking, video surveillance and video analytics -- targeted at enterprise users and the creation of what it calls an "AppFactory environment" to enable new application development.
In tandem, the vendor is also pitching the concept of "private" wireless networks, which involves carving out a chunk of spectrum in a particular area (such as a sports stadium) that is used for specific services and customers. That's a proposition that sounds very much like that of edge wireless specialist SpiderCloud.
Nokia is also proposing the potential use, in the future, of unlicensed spectrum to create these discrete networks, using MulteFire technology.
MEC, as a concept with supporting technology, has been around for a few years, but now it's reaching a critical point in its evolution: Is it a viable concept that can embellish the radio access and small cell propositions of mobile network operators? Or a good idea that can't find a viable business case? (See ETSI Gets Edgy About Mobile.)
Nokia isn't the only company pitching MEC, but not everyone's on board with the idea. The next year or so should reveal whether it can get enough operator and vendor support to become a serious mobile networking trend.
— Ray Le Maistre, , Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading