(September 7, 2016 – Hong Kong) Comba Telecom Systems Holdings Limited (“Comba Telecom” or “the Group” , Hong Kong stock code: 2342), a global leading wireless solutions provider, today announced pioneering Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) technology compliant with the ETSI Standard at the CTIA Super Mobility show in Las Vegas. Available in early 2017, the MEC platform addresses issues with capacity, congestion and latency by managing mobile traffic intelligently at the network edge. This opens possibilities for mobile network operators (MNOs) and enterprises to maximize a network, build value-added applications and location-based services on top of local mobile infrastructure. The platform also enables new business models such as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) for service providers. The MEC platform is the result of Comba’s ongoing joint R&D efforts with the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) for smart city and Internet of Things (IoT) technology.
Mobile Edge Computing for Smart Cities
Demand for mobile data is growing exponentially, from smartphones and the IoT, outpacing network capacity and requiring wireless technical advancements. The MEC platform is the latest element of Comba Telecom’s blueprint for smart cities’ and connected enterprises’ wireless needs.
Simon Yeung, Executive Director and President of Comba Telecom, said: “At Comba, customer-centricity is at our core, not only in how we solve customers’ business challenges but help them easily use our solutions and services. Targeted for availability in early 2017, the MEC platform is a reliable, scalable solution, which Comba will help connected enterprises and mobile operators implement, to in turn offer their end users next-generation mobile experiences.”
Dr. Frank Tong, CEO of ASTRI, said: “We are very excited to be working closely with Comba on mobile edge computing through our joint lab platform. With end user behavior increasing demand for high performance computing and processing, MEC enables a wide range of artificial intelligence applications, for example, in security, augmented and virtual reality, and autonomous driving, which require instant responses that existing networks fail to support. We wish to collaborate with other players in the ecosystem and push Hong Kong’s next generation network technology, the basic technology of any smart city, to the forefront.”
The Need for Mobile Edge Computing
The centralized cellular network architecture in use today was designed to handle millions of smartphones, but not the anticipated billions of IoT endpoints that smart cities and connected enterprises use. Additionally, with the growing popularity of cloud computing, most smartphone and IoT applications are now hosted in the cloud. However, cloud hosting slows down mobile data speeds, resulting from the cloud server’s distance from the device.
Comba’s MEC platform moves some of this computing to edge of a network by creating a cloud computing environment based on network functions virtualization (NFV), integrating smoothly with the mobile radio access network (RAN). By operating in close proximity to mobile users, the MEC platform enables services and applications to benefit from ultra-low latency and high bandwidth delivery. In addition, the MEC platform can provide real-time radio network information to be used by applications to offer context-aware services. These capabilities of the MEC platform enable service providers to deliver an instant and seamless mobile broadband experience.
The virtualization of the Comba MEC platform also provides an open environment allowing multiple third party tenants, such as application providers, to run their applications on the top. By opening up and virtualizing the RAN edge, the platform provides MNOs, Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), neutral hosts and any other RAN owners with new revenue-generating possibilities.
Marie Ma, Director of Product Marketing at Comba Telecom, said: “Application providers have two main incentives to host their applications, or a suitable sub-division of it, on the edge. First, they get ultra-low latency and high-bandwidth. Secondly, the Radio Network Information Service module of the MEC server gives them real-time network information about the cell load, subscriber’s specific bandwidth and location. This way the mobile operator can take load off the core network, reduce congestion and make more money out of the edge network.”
Comba Telecom MEC at CTIA Super Mobility Show
CTIA Super Mobility show attendees can preview how MEC looks to the end user by visiting Comba Telecom’s booth #4237 from September 7-9. Use cases on display include retail advertising and virtual reality.
In the case of retail advertising, MEC enables brands to target digital signage ads to specific users, using facial pattern identification and expression detection. This requires localized video analytics and lightning-fast response times enabled by MEC. This kind of real-time targeted advertising – deciding which ad to show before the viewer passes by – is not possible with a usual mobile traffic routing to a remote cloud server for analytics and configuration.
At any convention and other event with large concentrations of mobile users, attendees often struggle to even access the network, let alone complete data-intensive tasks. With MEC, convention exhibitors can incorporate virtual reality (VR) video streaming – a data-intensive task involving high resolution, 360-degree video at high speed, into demos and other activities for attendees.