IBM and Vodafone team up to launch 5G venture

IBM and Vodafone have partnered to launch a new venture aimed at boosting European 5G, artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud capabilities, according to a press release issued last week on Thursday.

The new partnership is part of an eight-year-agreement valued at $550m (£427m), which will combine Vodafone’s IoT, 5G, and edge computing together with IBM’s multi-cloud, AI, and security capabilities.

The combined agreement between the two companies will make it easier for businesses to link up their separate cloud systems and prepare them for the next wave of digital technology such as machine learning, 5G, edge, and Software Defined Networking (SDN).

The two firms referred to research that points out more than 70% of the world organisations use up to 15 different cloud systems at any one time.

IBM and Vodafone partnership

“Vodafone has successfully established its cloud business to help our customers succeed in a digital world,” said Vodafone CEO, Nick Read. “This strategic venture with IBM allows us to focus on our strengths in fixed and mobile technologies, whilst leveraging IBM’s expertise in multi-cloud, AI and services.

“Through this new venture, we’ll accelerate our growth and deepen engagement with our customers while driving radical simplification and efficiency in our business,” he added.

The deal will help bolster Vodafone’s revenue as it competes against other large mobiles companies across Europe.

For IBM, the deal will give it a chance to stop having to compete directly with “hyperscale” cloud providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google.

“The convergence of multi-cloud and connectivity promises to speed decision-making, enhanced automation and personalise experiences for end users in any location – even some of the most remote,” IBM said.

“For example, in the past, innovating on an oil rig would have been a challenge due to lack of connectivity and disparate IT systems. Today, thanks to edge computing and IoT technologies from Vodafone working with the latest AI and augmented reality applications from IBM, engineers will be able to pinpoint and resolve faults on equipment in minutes rather than hours, potentially saving millions in lost productivity,” IBM added.

IBM chairperson, president, and CEO, Ginni Rometty, said: “IBM has built an industry-leading hybrid cloud, AI and security capabilities underpinned by deep industry expertise.

“Together, IBM and Vodafone will use the power of the hybrid cloud to securely integrate critical business applications, driving business innovation – from agriculture to next-generation retail,” she added.

According to IBM and Vodafone, both firms will open a joint London office by May 2019.


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