AT&T will launch an edge computing test zone in Palo Alto, CA, the company announced Tuesday.

Set to open in early 2018, the test zone will give Silicon Valley tech leaders a spot to test hot tech developments in drones, autonomous cars, and virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). The several-mile site will use a 4G LTE connection initially, but plans to boost that to 5G by the end of 2018, according to a press release.

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Edge computing, according to AT&T, is the secret behind offering both low-drain and high-performance products, especially when it comes to VR and AR mobile apps. Giving consumers a quality app with low latency and without killing their battery will help business grow. Through edge computing, the data processing moves closer to the user and the high-end apps work better, AT&T said.

“Edge computing is the next step in the evolution of the network,” Melissa Arnoldi, president, AT&T Technology and Operations, said in the release. “Edge computing puts a supercomputer in your pocket, on your wrist, in your car, and right in front of your eyes.”

AT&T Foundry innovation centers, located in Silicon Valley and Atlanta, are spearheading the zone’s creation. In the zone, developers and companies have a chance to work with Foundry representatives to test and improve upcoming technology without needing to create their own space for testing.

AT&T doesn’t have any specific project plans in the works for the zone, according to the release.

The zone announcement follows continued investment in 5G and edge computing from AT&T. In July, AT&T said it was “reinventing the cloud” and targeting single-digit millisecond latency.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. AT&T will open an edge computing test zone in Palo Alto, CA in the beginning of 2018, the company announced Tuesday.
  2. AT&T Foundry representatives will team up with third parties to test a variety of emerging technologies, including AR and VR, self-driving cars, and drones.
  3. As an increasing amount of technology needs edge computing to run smoothly, the zone gives tech leaders a much needed space to test their products without investing in creating their own.