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July 8, 2021
Verizon acquired video conferencing company BlueJeans for a reported $400 million roughly one year ago, at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic was forcing a large number of Americans to work and school from their computers.
Now, as the pandemic wanes in the US thanks to a growing number of vaccinations, Verizon hopes that video conferencing remains a critical part of everyday life for a large number of its customers. "Long gone are the days of expecting all meeting attendees to be in a conference room together," said Eric Spadafora, Verizon's VP and GM of BlueJeans, in a release.
But perhaps more importantly, the company also offered a glimpse into how its burgeoning edge computing service might improve its entry into the video conferencing business.
Specifically, Verizon said it is currently testing several services on BlueJeans that leverage its growing network of public edge computing sites. By doing so, Verizon said it can offload complex computing tasks like rendering virtual backgrounds or displaying immersive presentations onto its edge computing network, thereby improving the BlueJeans experience on mobile devices that might not be able to handle such functions.
Faster services at the edge
Edge computing network designs promise to reduce the time it takes to send computing requests to far-flung data centers – lowering network latency – by positioning computing services geographically closer to the customers using them. That type of network design can make services much snappier.
"This low latency approach can unlock new high-end use cases for end users (e.g., real-time music performance) and facilitate a new era of mobile innovation (e.g., VR/AR headset connectivity). The new solution should bring together BlueJeans and the power of Verizon's 5G network to deliver breakthrough performance to support video collaboration on the go," Verizon explained in a release.
Indeed, Verizon said its BlueJeans video conferencing service is now available on the Vuzix M400 and M4000 augmented reality goggles. This, according to Verizon, will allow users to "easily bring their frame of view into any BlueJeans meeting to help facilitate productivity." Verizon's public edge computing service stems from its agreement with Amazon Web Services (AWS) inked at the end of 2019. The company hopes to operate 20 public edge computing sites via the agreement by the end of this year.
That, according to Verizon, will create a total addressable market for edge computing – both private and public – in the US worth $1 billion by the end of 2022. That figure will grow to $10 billion by 2025, the company said.
Verizon is hoping that video conferencing will be one of many services that will benefit from its investments into edge computing. Other services the company is testing on its edge computing platform range from autonomous cars to video streams from concerts.
Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading
Based in Denver, Mike has covered the wireless industry as a journalist for almost two decades, first at RCR Wireless News and then at FierceWireless and recalls once writing a story about the transition from black and white to color screens on cell phones.
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