Thoughts from the First Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) Congress

As a product guy working in a company focused on Mobile Edge Computing (MEC), I wondered how the 1st ever MEC Congress will reflect industry views about MEC. I was excited to see multiple viewpoints about MEC coming from operators, vendors, standardization groups and the academia presented during the 2-day MEC congress.
There is general agreement in the industry that MEC can reduce latency and help mobile network operators (MNOs) deliver increasing volumes of mobile data. In private discussions with MNOs a lot of emphasis was placed on the economic benefits of MEC: reducing network costs and  the opportunity to generate new revenue streams.

Here are a few insights that I gained from the congress.

Challenges MEC should solve

Any future network will have to provide lower delay in comparison to the current state-of-delay. It will also have to deal with increased data volumes and masses of devices in machine-2-machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. At the congress it was quite clear that MEC is the way to overcome these challenges.

Saguna's presentation at the MEC CongressLooking Forward

In my presentation, “MEC to the future” I discussed the evolving role of MEC. I started by discussing the current mobile Internet where MEC applications like Private CDNs can go a long way towards improving user experience while reducing network costs. From there I continued into the Things Internet, where latency must be reduced and more devices supported and to the Tactile Internet, where applications require ultra-low latency. (The picture below was taken during my presentation by Emily Martyr from Informa, who I want to thank for doing a great job in putting together the agenda of the conference). I was happy to hear that operators understand this evolution and are ready to start reaping the benefits MEC as soon as possible.

What we need to move forward

MEC is still in its early stages. The industry needs are clear, and the MEC congress was a great platform to present them. Moving forward, we need a more proactive approach from MNOs. By taking the center stage, MNOs can provide their insights and help to craft the MEC standard and requirements. A more active MNO role in creating PoCs would be the shortest way to achieving a robust standard for the industry to adopt.

Juniper Networks and Saguna receiving the MEC Congress Award for joint Service Aware RAN SolutionIndustry recognition

At the end of the first day the award ceremony took place. Together with Juniper Networks, Saguna won the first ever MEC award for the “Biggest Contribution to R&D” for our joint Service Aware RAN (SRAN) Solution. See the picture below (thanks again Emily) of Anil Gupta from Juniper Networks (right) and myself (left) just after the announcement. Our joint solution combines software and hardware to provide a complete, pre-integrated Mobile Edge Computing platform; one that delivers MEC functionality with the underlying system elements required for operation within the demanding radio access network (RAN) environment. The responses we received from MNOs were great. I  am confident that this type of collaboration can help boost the industry.

MEC Congress, Informa and ETSI

The MEC Congress was backed by ETSI’s MEC standardization group. Nurit Sprecher, who chairs the ETSI MEC ISG, gave a compelling presentation about the standard’s goals and milestones. As an industry standard, MEC is vendor agnostic. One of its goals is opening the radio access network (RAN) to wide variety of industry players. During MEC Congress, it was clear that the open, standard-based approach is changing dynamics and accelerating innovation, a very welcome change in my opinion.

Last but not least, I would like to personally thank the Informa team for the great event they ran: the agenda was good and balanced and the atmosphere was good. You set a high bar for next year…