Vodafone and IBM strike $550m European deep-tech alliance

17 Jan 20191.16k Views

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It isn’t just the cloud, it will be a cloud of clouds enabled by 5G, edge computing and artificial intelligence.

Tech giant IBM is joining forces with global mobile player Vodafone to build a new joint venture to capitalise on opportunities in deep tech.

The venture will be designed around innovations in edge computing and underpinned by cloud, artificial intelligence (AI) and, crucially, 5G.

‘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’
– GINNI ROMETTY

Under the new venture, Vodafone Business customers will gain immediate access to the full portfolio of IBM’s cloud offerings.

As part of the agreement, IBM will provide managed services to the mobile operator’s cloud and hosting unit, in an eight-year engagement valued at approximately $550m (€480m).

Vodafone Business customers will benefit from IBM’s expertise in areas such as automation and cognitive computing.

Every business will soon be a tech business

The venture will co-develop new digital solutions, combining Vodafone’s expertise in internet of things (IoT), 5G and edge computing with IBM’s multicloud, industry and professional services capabilities.

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

According to Vodafone CEO Nick Read, the convergence of multicloud and connectivity will speed up decision-making, enhance automation and personalise experiences for end users in any location.

By working together, Vodafone and IBM engineers will be able to pinpoint problems with edge computing, IoT, AI and augmented reality (AR) applications, and resolve faults in minutes rather than hours, potentially saving millions in lost productivity.

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

The new venture – which hasn’t yet been given a name – will be operational in the first half of 2019.

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com