Verizon, Microsoft partner to bring 5G edge computing to Azure Stack Edge

The partnership means that Verizon can begin offering on-premises, private edge computing and private 5G to businesses.

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An image from a trial of Verizon and Microsoft's combined technology at Ice Mobility.

Image: Verizon

Verizon and Microsoft have announced an extension of their partnership that will bring Verizon's 5G Edge to Microsoft Azure Stack Edge. Verizon said the new offering will provide "increased efficiencies, higher levels of security and the low lag and high bandwidth needed for applications involving computer vision, augmented and virtual reality, and machine learning."

SEE: 5G: What it means for edge computing (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

This isn't the first time Verizon has partnered with a cloud provider to offer on-premises mobile edge computing. In April 2021, the telecom giant partnered with Amazon Web Services to offer a similar product. In the case of Verizon and AWS, the partnership brings the same 5G edge computing available in Azure Stack Edge to AWS Outposts, the hardware racks AWS offers for on-premise computing. 

This is not the beginning of the Verizon and Microsoft partnership: The two have been working together since 2020 to "create new ways for enterprises to accelerate the delivery of fast and secure 5G applications."

On-site private 5G service has been predicted to become a new standard for companies processing high volumes of data for some time, and this latest pair of announcements from Verizon sets the stage for growth that IDC research VP Ghassan Abdo said conforms to IDC's predictions. "This announcement aligns with IDC's view that an on-premises, private 5G edge compute deployment model will spur the growth of compelling 4th generation industrial use cases."

Verizon cited several use cases for Verizon 5G Edge on Azure Stack Edge in its announcement, among those the fact that retailers gain the ability to process information and gain actionable insights near instantaneously, and that manufacturers can use it to maximize asset performance as well as optimize operations and minimize downtime. 

Verizon offered logistics and supply chain company Ice Mobility as an example of companies using its 5G Edge product on Azure Stack Edge. Ice Mobility has been working with Verizon and Microsoft since the 2020 announcement of their partnerships, and put their technologies to work improving quality assurance on its packing line using computer vision. 

SEE: Edge computing adoption to increase through 2026; organizations cautious about adding 5G to the mix (TechRepublic Premium)

Ice Mobility plans to expand its usage of Verizon and Microsoft's combined technology with additional computer vision, material automation enhancements, and other things that Verizon said "would allow them to assign overhead and indirect costs to specific customer accounts, pick and pack lines, and warehouse activities to enhance efficiencies and improve competitiveness."

Businesses hoping to use Verizon's 5G Edge service on Azure Edge Stack might be out of luck: it isn't universally available yet. As of writing, Verizon's website lists Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Las Vegas, Miami, New York City, Phoenix, the San Francisco bay area, Seattle and Washington, D.C., as locations where 5G Edge is available. The company said it plans to expand its offering to other cities in the future. 

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