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The world is hungry for 5G. 

Both consumers and businesses are eager to quickly adopt the applications and services that leverage the low latency and fast speeds of 5G to accelerate digital transformation and differentiate themselves with their end customers. 

Therefore, the race is on -- actually, it has been for some time -- and first-mover status will be critical for both short- and long-term success. Key to winning the race will be edge computing, which will deliver the low latency and high bandwidth and usher in a wave of new applications and services that will monetize 5G infrastructure

Operators cannot afford to take a wait-and-see approach, and must act quickly and decisively as they compete against some of the biggest and most innovative companies in the world -- webscale companies like Amazon, Google and Microsoft, among others, that are targeting the same set of enterprise customers. 

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The good news: Telcos are well positioned to capitalize.

At the heart of an enterprise-grade edge network lies connectivity. 

Fast, secure and reliable connectivity is essential for the real benefits of edge to be realized. Herein lies the paradox – connectivity is the cornerstone of an enterprise edge strategy, yet enterprises don't see connectivity providers as the partner they need to make their strategy a success. 

Service providers have an innate understanding of the intricacies involved, and how these can be optimized. To become the essential edge partner of enterprises, service providers need to demonstrate their ability to:

1. Deliver connectivity as an edge location owner.

Webscalers may talk up their ability to satisfy customers' connectivity needs, but service providers have been delivering these services for decades. And operators have key advantages in this race already -- much of it tied to real estate.

Public cloud providers have built hundreds of mega data centers located strategically around the world. Service providers, in contrast, have tens of thousands of central offices and cell sites that already exist much closer to end users than most of the cloud providers' data centers.

Service providers need to effectively use their networks to tap into the value being created at the edge. They can do this by:

  • Understanding which industries are most amenable to leveraging edge to better deliver value internally and externally.
  • Identifying key use cases in those industries and the related applications that are most likely to gain market traction.
  • Deploying these vertical-specific solutions at scale to drive new revenue streams.
Podcast: How Service Providers Can Capture the Edge Opportunity

2. Effectively integrate edge with the enterprise's current infrastructure, with specific focus on cybersecurity capabilities as an edge connector.

Edge is transforming the way in which enterprises handle, process and deliver data. The growth of internet-connected devices and new applications that require real-time computing capabilities has made secure, reliable and high-speed network access a necessity.

Edge computing and 5G will bring about a massive wave of new connected devices, which we call the Internet of Things (IoT). This will transform the way in which enterprises handle, process and deliver data. The growth of internet-connected devices and new applications that require real-time computing capabilities makes security, resiliency, scalability and sustainability foundational for any edge deployment strategy.

Think of it like a house. An existing 4G home has the typical entryways: a front door, back door and side door. In upgrading to a 5G model, construction crews have come in to build a delightful new interior but have also added six new exterior doors (I.e. edge locations) to improve access and flow. 

Are existing 4G security programs an adequate solution to secure a shiny new 5G model equipped with three times as many doors? The answer is no, of course not.

3. Focus on the end-user and make deployment of new edge use cases and associated applications easy, enabling ongoing innovation as an edge application enabler.

To reap the rewards of a fast-expanding market, service providers must show that they can tackle the complexity of edge operations and boost the odds of edge success, which hinges on the applications and services that are delivered to end customers at the edge.

Edge computing infrastructure -- be it hardware or security -- is but a cost to service providers. The monetization component of edge is the applications.

To offer such value, operators need to form new partnerships to underpin their capabilities as an edge application enabler: a one-stop shop for edge developer services and applications, providing solutions based on a deep understanding of use cases for specific vertical markets.

But which industries are most prone to adopting edge computing? And what are the best use cases or applications in those respective industries? The answers to these questions are tricky. And, in all honesty, the use cases that will truly transform the world are likely still percolating as ideas inside the heads of leading technologists and economists.

Research commissioned by WWT identifies 30 industry-specific edge use cases likely to deliver the greatest revenue potential, all of which benefit from edge's suitability for transformative, data-intensive applications.

Service providers also can leverage WWT's Application Services to custom build an application or service that delivers specific business outcomes.


Service providers need to show they have a deep understanding of how to optimize edge deployments for the nuances of what the enterprise is seeking to achieve, and the use cases that are most critical.

And as we have seen, they need to show that they can meet these needs while at the same time optimizing for security, compliance and cost. 

Some service providers may not have the requisite skills in-house to deliver all this. If this is the case, telecoms service providers should partner with an expert such as WWT. We can offer pre-built solutions composed of connectivity, system integration capabilities and ease of deployment that serves their prospective edge customer's needs. 

To identify opportunities and strengthen the case for their involvement, telcos can lean on WWT's expertise across a wide variety of industries. 

Service providers' deep understanding of connectivity is a key advantage. With the assistance of a partner who can bridge any gaps in their knowledge of vertical-specific use cases, they can develop pre-packaged solutions covering all three of the above requirements.

Achieve this, and service providers will be on the road to changing enterprise perceptions, increasingly cementing themselves as the de facto partners for enterprise Edge deployments.

Edge is a $17 billion opportunity. Make the Most of It.