Azure Sphere, Internet of Things, Thought leadership
Microsoft and AT&T are accelerating the enterprise customer’s journey to the edge with 5G
By Jason Zander Executive Vice President, Microsoft Azure
4 min read
Today, we find ourselves at a pivotal moment that’s impacting many enterprise customers’ digital transformation needs. In this place where cloud meets the edge, compute meets mobile, and 5G trends continue to drive innovation—customer demand for advanced network capabilities is surging. For customers, the promise of all these converging technologies is still the ability to create and use innovative solutions and experiences to keep pace with a rapidly evolving digital landscape.
As a result, enterprises are migrating mission-critical workloads to the cloud to better serve their customers. The technologies that are involved are complex, and companies are looking to providers to not merely sell them products, but to help them deliver innovation while developing ever-greater capabilities. With new use cases and connected devices becoming ubiquitous, those enterprises are requiring new edge application solutions close to the end users to help them build innovative solutions within industries as diverse as gaming, automotive, healthcare, manufacturing, and more.
Sign up for the Azure Edge Zones with AT&T private preview today.
Microsoft and AT&T’s deep collaboration meets these needs by supporting our mutual customers’ digital transformation and evolution. We’re bringing our collective cloud and network technologies and expertise to light in areas such as 5G, AI, and IoT—to improve the ways in which people live and work.
We’ve already made considerable progress. In June, we hit a major milestone when we announced an industry-first collaboration to adopt Microsoft cloud technology for AT&T’s 5G core network workloads. This enables AT&T to increase productivity, reduce costs, and deliver innovative services that meet its customers’ evolving needs. We’re also leading development of new solutions that will help enterprises lower costs while increasing efficiency, reliability, and security at the edge of their premises and facilities through capabilities such as AT&T-enabled Azure Sphere and Guardian module, and AT&T MEC with Azure.
Microsoft Azure is available in more than 60 regions, more than any other cloud provider, making it easy for enterprises to choose the datacenter and regions that are right for them and their customers. For densely populated metros where enterprises need low-latency compute resources, we extend the capability of Azure to the operator’s 5G network edge. Azure Edge Zones with AT&T can dramatically improve an application’s performance while reducing overhead and complexity for enterprise customers. A selected set of Azure services deployed at the edge, directly connected to AT&T’s 5G core, enables latency-sensitive enterprise scenarios through optimized routing from the Azure Edge Zones with AT&T to the AT&T mobility network. This enables developers to innovate richer applications with lower latency, higher throughput, and greater reach.
Journey to the mobile network edge
Innovative enterprise customers are exploring ways to combine 5G’s next-generation network capabilities with the power of applications deployed closer to the customer at the network edge. For example, in music, we’re enabling new experiences not previously possible, through virtual jam sessions that offer an experience like musicians playing side by side—reducing latency and unleashing creativity. Working with JamKazam to power audio and video streaming for musicians online, AT&T’s low-latency solution, using the edge and 5G helped the band The Perfect Nines to jam without the constraints of crowded home wi-fi networks. Check out the JamKazam video to learn more. In another example, the AT&T 5G Innovation Studio collaborated with Microsoft Azure and EVA to deliver an important advancement for U.S. based autonomous drones. By creating a unique test environment representative of the Microsoft Azure Edge Zone with AT&T, the low latency of 5G combined with EVA’s app deployed at the network edge with Azure cloud services enabled autonomous drone control beyond visual line of sight. Check out the EVA video to learn more.
Powerful relationships can also provide numerous benefits to consumers, as evidenced by General Motors recent collaboration with AT&T, supported by Microsoft’s cloud services—which will improve the quality of in-vehicle experience for drivers by offering improved roadway-centric coverage, higher quality music and video downloads, more reliable and secure over-the-air software updates, as well as faster navigation, mapping, and voice services.
Following the successful proof of concept in Los Angeles and the other positive developments noted above, we are excited about our Azure Edge Zones with AT&T private preview in Atlanta. Azure Edge Zones with AT&T in Dallas and other metros will soon follow. The momentum is building, and your imagination is the only limit to future offerings. With Microsoft and AT&T’s strategic collaboration, customers can unlock low-latency enterprise applications well beyond the traditional network and create the smart cities, roadways, and skyways of the future.
“The power of 5G is about more than just speed. It’s about harnessing ultra-fast and ultra-responsive connectivity to distributed cloud technology for entirely new experiences. As compute expands beyond centralized systems and out to the edge of the 5G network, companies and consumers now essentially have supercomputer capabilities in the air around them. From lightweight virtual reality interfaces that can be used by anyone from gamers to first responders, to hyper-precise location tools for industrial applications and warehousing, the edge is transformative. Our deep collaboration with Microsoft is designed to help customers make that leap and start creating the future.”—Andre Fuetsch, Chief Technology Officer, AT&T Network Services
We invite organizations of all sizes and from every segment to create joint experiments that unlock the capabilities enabled by Azure services at the Edge, connected through AT&T’s 5G network. From using drones over 5G to support public safety and traffic management efforts, to remote patient care, in-car autonomous safety response, and high-performance mobile gaming, the possibilities are endless.
Get started with Azure Edge Zones with AT&T
We are committed to helping customers digitally transform. Following in the footsteps of the great projects outlined above—developing proof-of-concept use cases in the areas of 5G, IoT, AT&T MEC with Azure, and Azure Edge Zones with AT&T—Microsoft and AT&T invite the next generation of customers, enterprise creators, public sector officials, and first responders to come innovate with us in Atlanta. To learn more about Azure Edge Zones with AT&T and how it will help you to deliver innovative new services and experiences, check out this demo video and contact us.