AT&T, Google Cloud collab yields new edge compute products

A 5G and edge collaboration between AT&T and Google Cloud initiated last year began to bear fruit, as the companies trotted out a pair of new co-developed products.

Fresh offerings on the table include AT&T Multi-access Edge Compute with Google Cloud, which melds the operator’s existing 5G and MEC capabilities with the hyperscaler’s artificial intelligence, machine learning, data analytics and ecosystem of software vendors. The setup allows data to be managed on-premises, in a data center or any cloud environment.

The pair also introduced AT&T Network Edge with Google Cloud, which will allow enterprise customers to tap into Google edge points of presence which will be linked to the operator’s fiber and 5G networks. The companies said the goal is to enable this in more than 15 of Google Cloud’s 76 zones, starting with Chicago in 2021. Additional rollouts in Atlanta, Dallas, Miami, New York City and San Francisco are set to follow.

An AT&T representative explained that for the Network Edge solution Google will deploy its cloud infrastructure at points of presence near AT&T’s core network assets, with “newly architected connections” between the two providing “highly optimized routing with lower latency.” The representative added “the use of 5G and/or wireline largely depends on what’s right for the customer and the applications they want to deploy.” Google Cloud and AT&T will scale their connectivity and compute infrastructure as more businesses adopt the service, the representative said.

AT&T and Google Cloud teamed up in March 2020, aiming to enable enterprise use cases such as video analytics and augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) applications by combining their respective technologies.

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George Nazi, Google Cloud VP of global telecom, media and entertainment solutions, said in a statement that through this marriage of capabilities “we are helping enterprises create new customer experiences and business services that were previously impossible.”

Some of these were detailed in a press release, with examples spanning retail, healthcare, manufacturing and entertainment. In manufacturing, for instance, the companies said the new solutions could enable remote support and quality control checks at factories. The same capabilities could also be applied in healthcare to scale access to AR/VR-based remote telehealth services.

Google Cloud isn’t AT&T’s only edge partner. The operator teamed with Microsoft in April 2020 to create edge compute zones for joint customers. Earlier this week AT&T notably unveiled plans to shift its 5G core network to Microsoft’s Azure cloud.

In November 2020, AT&T also announced a deal with IBM to offer hybrid cloud services at the mobile network edge via the latter’s distributed Cloud Satellite platform.

Meanwhile, Google Cloud has struck its own series of agreements as part of a bid to solidify its presence in the telecom market, recently teaming with Ericsson, Casa Systems, Vodafone Group, and Telus,  among others.