Technology Record - Issue 31: Winter 2023

124 FEATURE One customer using Microsoft’s edge computing capabilities is Digicel, which provides mobile phone network and home entertainment services in 25 countries across the Caribbean. As part of an extensive cloud transformation strategy supported by Microsoft partner Maureen Data Systems, Digicel create a landing zone and a hybrid cloud environment using Azure Stack Hub and HCI in local markets for performance in a mixed physical and virtual environment. The implementation has helped to prevent outages in on-premises data centres and allowed Digicel to focus on increasing scalability and improving stability in its infrastructure. “Microsoft is a longstanding partner with the most wholesome and complete approach and Azure offerings, including Edge Cloud,” said Melinda Lloyd, Digicel Group’s IT program and project manager. “This factor was a critical component given the dynamic locations in which we operate. We made the right choice.” Microsoft has also conducted several tests of edge technology at large media events, including trials with a major sports league, to demonstrate its ability to provide cloud services more flexibly. Broadcasters will often cover several events over a short period of time, and Davis suggests that edge technology provides a suitably versatile platform for various different occasions. “Today it could be a football match, tomorrow it could be a concert,” he says. “You don’t want the same configuration for covering each of these events, so you’d have to be rolling trucks back and forth to change and rewire them. Instead, why not roll the compute out there using edge devices and just change the software? We’re just getting started in this area, but there’s a lot of potential.” Davis also points to a possible democratisation of access to AI services through edge computing as being a potential benefit for smaller media markets around the world. “I’m already being challenged to bring AI services such as translation services and alternative subtitles with an edge device,” he says. “There are places in the world where they don’t have access to content because nobody is translating it into the local language. This could become possible through the combination of edge technology and AI, and the models will get better through time as we learn.” “ Our goal is to install edge devices that can move to where the content already is” Photo: Unsplash/kevin-schmid