Apr 29, 2021

Vodafone and O2: spectrum swapping will speed 5G rollout

Harry Menear
2 min
Two of the UK’s leading carriers, O2 and Vodafone, will swap spectrum bands purchased in the latest 5G auction to accelerate their 5G rollouts
Two of the UK’s leading carriers, O2 and Vodafone, will swap spectrum bands purchased in the latest 5G auction to accelerate their 5G rollouts...

Following Ofcom’s announcements of the final results of the UK’s latest 5G spectrum auction, mobile carriers O2 and Vodafone revealed this week that they have reached an agreement to swap some of the spectrum bands purchased, in order to improve performance on their networks.

The move feels oddly reminiscent of games of Monopoly my family played when I was young (before we collectively agreed that it’s a terrible board game and discovered better things to play, like Azul and Betrayal at House on the Hill). Around the middle of the game, when all the properties have been bought up, there almost always came a strategic trading phase. “I’ll give you Mayfare if you can turn over all your light blues.” Swapping around already owned properties on the board let you have a slightly better strategy and get on with the important business of building hotels to squeeze more money out of unwilling tenants. 

O2 and Vodafone’s announcement is ostensibly not about squeezing more money out of their respective customers, but rather generating revenue thanks to better, faster, more reliable 5G networks, as well as speeding up the build-out phase of their 5G infrastructure. 

O2 in particular has benefitted from the trade, which has seen it amass a sizable 80 MHz block of contiguous spectrum. Vodafone’s blocks of spectrum - which total about 90 MHz - aren’t completely contiguous, but the carrier says that the new deal should ensure “good proximity.” 

“It means we have the best possible spectrum to continue giving our customers a fast and reliable 5G service,” said Vodafone CEO, Ahmed Essam in a statement to the press. 

He added: “It will also enable us to open up amazing new possibilities for our enterprise customers, putting Britain at the forefront of innovation in vital areas like assisted surgery, remote training, and factory automation.”

The two telecom already have a partnership in place that allows them to share mast infrastructure. 

The 5G spectrum reshuffle, both operators say, “will enable improved coverage for customers – both indoor and outdoor – across urban, suburban and rural areas,” due to the fact that contiguous blocks of spectrum support faster download speeds, lower latency and more energy efficient operations. 

O2 CEO, Mark Evans, said on Wednesday that, “Securing contiguous blocks of spectrum is crucial to harnessing the true power of 5G – we will have the strongest indoor and outdoor connectivity and an ultra-reliable frequency.” 

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May 11, 2021

EDGEMATRIX and NTT DOCOMO deliver AI at the edge

Harry Menear
3 min
NTT DOCOMO and EDGEMATRIX are collaborating to expand the EDGEMATRIX ecosystem in Japan and overseas.
NTT DOCOMO and EDGEMATRIX are collaborating to expand the EDGEMATRIX ecosystem in Japan and overseas...

Leading Japanese telecommunications firm NTT DOCOMO, together with startup EDGEMATRIX, is harnessing the power of 5G to support artificial intelligence-enabled video, real-time analytics and, ultimately, the next step in the evolution of the modern smart city. 

Founded under the roof of Silicon Valley tech firm Cloudian, EDGEMATRIX has grown into a cutting edge startup based in Japan. NTT DOCOMO has been a shareholder in the company since 2019, having spent the past two years jointly developing and commercialising EDGEMATRIX's revolutionary edge-AI platform using high-speed, high-capacity, low-latency 5G technology. NTT DOCOMO, together with EDGEMATRIX, launched a world-first edge AI platform for intelligent video analytics, enabling high resolution, high security, and real-time video using AI. 


Courtesy of EDGEMATRIX

The platform simplifies, manages and oversees the implementation and integration of AI at the edge, which captures, analyses and stores video close to where it is captured in industrial and retail settings, "on location at factories, buildings and other outdoor and indoor locations." The solution is also used in social infrastructure such as roads, railroads, and long-term care facilities for safety monitoring and anomaly detection.

Using Edge AI Box, a compact indoor and outdoor device equipped with a GPU for deep learning-based AI and a communication module (WiFi/LTE/5G) together with various interfaces such as camera connection, it becomes possible to process video streaming from surveillance cameras on-site (at the edge) and in real-time. EDGEMATRIX's Edge AI Boxes can be installed across a site and then monitored using the company's platform. The platform maps the locations of multiple Edge AI Box devices installed on site, monitors their operational status and enables the devices to be controlled remotely. 

EDGEMATRIX's customers can use the platform to pruchase additional AI applications from a rapidly-expanding ecosystem which allow them to implement the right solution for the right situation. This simplifies the implementation and upgrade of edge AI for processing and storing video data captured with video cameras at customer premises either outdoor or indoor. Using "Edge View" feature, it is also possible to simultaneously display on the browser a large number of AI-processed real-time videos from the field.

Partnerships like this are key to NTT DOCOMO’s efforts to integrate 5G technologies into the modern enterprise. 

Zaif Siddiqi, Executive Director and Global Head of NTT DOCOMO’s 5G & IoT Business Department, comments: “When you're approaching digital transformation, there's more to it than just leveraging cutting edge technologies into new customer experiences.” Unless the needs of the customer, and the underlying market forces at play, can be truly understood, “5G doesn’t mean anything,” he explains, adding that in order to find the right contexts for deployment, “Selection of the right partners is extremely important to delivering on the potential value of 5G.”  

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