The vastly resourced Amazon Web Services is set to work with telco Verizon in offering a 5G edge computing service that will push processing power closer to users and reduce latency, as part of a bid to outpace direct competitor Microsoft in this fledgling market.

It matters because the promise of ultra-low latency computing has been mostly talk for a while, but this opens up the possibilities of extremely powerful computing operations – including game streaming, artificial intelligence techniques, and other high-power techniques.

This is according to Amazon Web Services’ re:Invent conference, held this week in Nevada, at which the companies announced that Verizon’s 5G network will offer edge computing using AWS’s Wavelength system. According to the product page, the service can “embed AWS compute and storage services within the telecommunications providers’ datacenters at the edge of the 5G networks”.

Amazon, the largest vendor of cloud computing services, began selling Wavelength on Tuesday in Chicago with the video games publisher Bethesda Softworks becoming the first client, per a report by Bloomberg. It will deploy across other US cities over the course of 2020, 5G networks permitting.

Speaking to the news service, the Fallout maker’s director of publishing, James Altman explained the benefits. “Lag reduction, visual fidelity, all of those problems present themselves, and in our testing using Orion on AWS Wavelength on Verizon’s 5G network we have the best streaming experience that we think is capable”.

Like other gaming companies, Bethesda is working to overcome the many challenges thrown up by the onset of cloud gaming, a system by which users stream a game as they play it, necessitating incredibly high-speed connections to a cloud computing service and where lag is clearly perceived.

In the zingy new world of super-fast connections, edge computing can seem to be quite rudimentary. In its simplest definition, it’s the act of physically locating computing power closer to a customer’s devices. Last year, Amazon brought out a product offering called Outposts, server systems from the company that will actually sit among client’s data centres in a hybrid cloud system.

A further product announced on Tuesday is Local Zones, which will be a network of small data centres in strategic locations that aren’t served by a proximate main server. For instance, as the cloud computing blog Mostly Cloudy reports, the first site will be in Los Angeles, serving West Coast customers whose offices are far enough from the main Oregon data centre to experience lag.

The partnership isn’t the first, and AWS isn’t the first to really evangelise about edge computing. Cloud challenger Microsoft’s Azure has been selling on-site services since 2015. Microsoft has also announced a collaboration with a telco AT&T earlier this year to bring network edge computing onto the telco’s network. The service is currently operational in Dallas, Texas.

Sourced from AWS, Bloomberg, Mostly Cloudy; additional content by WARC staff