MEC Coming of Age

By Michael Benattar.     "MEC has come of age” was a phrase we heard in one of the presentations at last week’s Mobile Edge Computing Congress (organized by our friends at Informa). There was a follow on thought from a different presenter that it is now time to use Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) to accelerate 4G networks so that they are able to provide near-5G performance.

As a player in the MEC space (including active membership in ETSI’s MEC working group; see the most recent working group paper here), we were encouraged by the enthusiasm expressed at the event.

Several contributors at the event also made the clear point that edge computing has to provide network optimization benefits and savings today, while also being able to deliver these Edge-based capabilities seamlessly over both fixed and cellular/mobile networks. This is due to the increasing nature of nationwide Fixed Mobile Converged (FMC) broadband networks. Support for both fixed and mobile (and cable!) networks is something that is fundamental to PeerApp’s solutions.

At the event, we were pleased to be able to share our thoughts on the different phases of MEC use cases and associated benefits:

  • We envision Optimization-driven Edge-based use cases initially, starting with edge-based video delivery (CDN & Caching at the edge) as a pragmatic & popular first use case bringing cost and QoE benefits.
  • MEC Use-cases would then progressively move to bringing monetization benefits, allowing the market to better understand which edge-based applications will get traction and test monetization strategies.
  • Edge-based Services Monetization assume a virtualized approach of the Services. Generally speaking, with NFV and the separation of service functions between edge and core, operators have to focus on new software architectures now mixed with networking considerations. This is a new area for most operators. It is also an area in which PeerApp has unique experience to contribute. Our MEC solution takes a tiered core/edge approach to provide the right level of video/content acceleration at the right place.
  • After the monetization ‘phase’, use-cases will then evolve to supporting more ‘ubiquity-centric’ needs, with use cases such as augmented reality, Tactile internet, and so on.

At the Congress, we also shared our understanding of the ‘essential ingredients’ for an edge-based CDN and cache solution. These include: automatic content recognition and caching; QoE-optimized video playout engine; support for lawful interception and other regulations.

We indeed believe that MEC has come of age and look forward to working with our customers and the industry to bring it to full maturity.

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