CenturyLink: We're Testing Edge Computing With Customers Now

Mike Dano
8/8/2019

CenturyLink's CEO said the company could be a major player in the edge computing marketplace, and he said CenturyLink will make further announcements about its edge computing investments and infrastructure in "the coming weeks."

"This application can be an important solution for retail, banking, and really anyone that has a number of dispersed service locations that need to process large amounts of data in real time," CenturyLink's Jeff Storey said during the company's recent quarterly conference call, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript of his remarks. "The combination of our fiber network with edge computing infrastructure and managed services support is a very powerful and differentiated service offering."

Intriguingly, Storey underscored his comments by discussing the company's edge computing work with an unnamed customer. Storey said the customer has a total of 2,000 locations nationwide, and is currently working with CenturyLink to evaluate whether it should move its data processing needs to CenturyLink's edge locations.

CenturyLink & Edge Computing
CenturyLink said it is working with an unnamed customer on various edge computing scenarios. 
(Source: CenturyLink)
CenturyLink said it is working with an unnamed customer on various edge computing scenarios.
(Source: CenturyLink)

"You can see that our existing infrastructure is positioned within five milliseconds transport time for 95% of their sites," Storey explained. According to Storey, the customer's applications and data can be processed more efficiently at CenturyLink's 100 or so edge locations, rather than at the customer's 2,000 sites (which would require the customer to purchase lots of processing capabilities) or backhauled to a single central location (which would require the customer to pay for the unnecessary transport of lots of data).

CenturyLink, of course, is not alone as a telecom company in looking for a role in the edge computing market. AT&T recently inked a major deal with Microsoft that includes an edge computing component, and Verizon has promised to launch an edge computing service by the end of this year.

Such announcements come as little surprise; for example, McKinsey and Company predicts that edge computing represents a potential value of up to $215 billion in hardware by 2025. The firm forecast that the travel, transport and logistics sector would lead the way in customer demand.

Edge Computing Use Cases
McKinsey and Company highlighted more than 100 edge computing use cases across 11 sectors.
 (Source: McKinsey & Company)
McKinsey and Company highlighted more than 100 edge computing use cases across 11 sectors.
(Source: McKinsey & Company)

"In our research we identified 107 edge computing use cases," wrote the McKinsey analysts in a report on edge computing. "These applications are not conceptual: we identified 3,000 companies deploying these use cases today to understand the potential opportunities across sectors and the technology stack."

Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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