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Sep 07 2015

Liquid Applications - coming to a cloud near you

This blog is by Rob McManus at Nokia Networks.Twitter: @nokianetworks

In the two years since Nokia launched Liquid Applications, it has wowed the industry with its remarkable ability to transform the delivery and experience of content, applications and services on your mobile device. The most noticeable difference is just how fast things are. Rich multimedia based content, like HD video can be viewed with no stalling, even when the mobile network is congested.

Other applications have also benefitted, like viewing live footage at sporting events, and one of my personal favorites, augmented reality. And let’s not forget about applications and services that have been transformed for other purposes, like video analytics for smart city scenarios and local breakout, which is fast LTE-based connectivity to local Enterprise directly from the edge of the network.

Nokia Liquid Applications demo shows how proximity and location can be leveraged to connect subscribers and local points of interest, businesses and events. For example, a base station near a historic landmark can contain data about it and send it to the devices of subscribers on a walking tour that pass the landmark .

Liquid Applications has been a step ahead of its time, and is now taking the next leap into the world of the telco cloud. At Mobile World Congress earlier this year, Nokia presented its innovative cloud-based radio architecture. In June, we launched our AirFrame Data Center Solution.

But what do both of these have to do with Liquid Applications? A cloud-based radio architecture would fully leverage the capabilities of Liquid Applications, but as a virtual network function (or VNF). This architecture could then be hosted on the AirFrame data center, which can also be deployed in a distributed manner within an operator's network. AirFrame cloud servers can even be installed in specific hot-spot locations, such as stadiums and shopping malls, giving the operator total versatility.

Just think about networks of the future and the potential of 5G. A world of connected people and connected ‘things’ or objects all generating enormous amounts of data and running services that require very low latencies. This high data rate processing and low latency can only be achieved by computing power that is located at the place where it is needed: the network edge. Having Liquid Applications within a distributed cloud-based radio architecture also means it can be harnessed for the entire Radio Access Network and work with other Nokia virtualized products.

And let’s not forget about the ETSI Mobile Edge Computing initiative (MEC) that was launched in 2014. Over 30 companies have now joined this working group, with Nokia being one of its founding members and currently chairing the forum. Its purpose is to define the necessary standards for the Liquid Applications’ type of functionality to be available for any vendor and any network implementation, as well as create an active and vibrant ecosystem consisting of operators, vendors, application developers and content providers.

Nokia’s Network In a Box (NIB) solution is based on the above mentioned MEC capability offering a complete LTE network service for users in specific scenarios. Integration of the BeOn application is the first example for public safety and business critical communications.

These are exciting times - for us as mobile broadband users, for operators, for enterprises and verticals and for application developers who can utilize Liquid Applications and the cloud to deliver experiences you wouldn’t think are possible!

Please share your thoughts on this topic by replying below – or join the Twitter discussion with @nokianetworks using #NetworksPerform #telcocloud #5G

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About Rob McManus

Rob leads the product marketing of Nokia’s Cloud Packet Core. If you need convincing about the exciting possibilities of a cloud-native and converged packet core – talk to him or keep an eye out at key industry forums where he’s a regular speaker.