Google Cloud, Ericsson team to serve up new 5G, edge cloud applications

Google Cloud sought to cement its place in the telco ecosystem, teaming with top vendor Ericsson to develop new cloud-native, container-based 5G and edge applications for enterprises and consumers.

A Google Cloud representative told Fierce the pair’s mission is twofold: to help operators more quickly and cost effectively deploy 5G and also help them monetize their next-generation networks through the rollout of 5G cloud solutions for enterprise customers. The effort is “focused on supporting 5G and edge cloud solutions in industries with edge presences, including retail, manufacturing, transportation, automotive, healthcare, and media and entertainment,” the representative added.

In retail, for instance, the combination of a low-latency 5G network and cloud-based analytics and processing capabilities could enable cameras to be used for automated inventory tracking rather than requiring an employee to physically count the items on store shelves. This would allow business owners to “to make faster and more accurate decisions about how to keep their store well-stocked,” the representative explained.

The companies said in a press release they’ve already completed “functional onboarding” of Ericsson’s 5G solutions onto Google’s Anthos cloud platform. Additional development work will take place at Ericsson’s D-15 Labs in Silicon Valley.

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In a blog, Ericsson SVP and CTO Erik Ekudden and Google Cloud VP of Global Networking Bikash Koley explained “enterprise service orchestration, including exposure of network assets and network slicing, are foundational capabilities to provide value to the application ecosystem and be in control of the network and the delivered services.”

With the right network APIs exposed, applications “can be optimized based on the network behavior and vice versa. Imagine, for instance, automatically pushing applications from a cloud region to the edge based on network latency and performance metrics.”

Google and Ericsson's collaboration includes a pilot project with Italian operator TIM which will combine TIM’s Telco Cloud infrastructure, Google Cloud’s solutions and Ericsson’s 5G core and automation capabilities to speed delivery of new services for enterprise customers.

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The move is Google’s latest in the telco space, as the company looks to assert its presence in the face of increased competition from fellow cloud players including Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft.

Google launched its Anthos platform in April 2019, following up with a telco specific version called Anthos for Telecom in March 2020. It added multi-cloud management capabilities for Anthos earlier this year.

In January, Google Cloud teamed with another major telco vendor – Nokia – to bring the company’s voice core, cloud packet core, data management and 5G core into the cloud.