IBM and Verizon Business collaborate to merge AI computing with 5G networks for the enterprise

A joint effort to help companies harness edge computing and a low latency network with AI capabilities for real-time insights.

5G Network Internet Mobile Wireless Business concept.5G standard of modern signal transmission technology.

Image: iStockphoto/LHG

By combining IBM's proven success in AI, with its AI data analytics tool Watson serving a host of industries, and Verizon's long standing role in providing wireless—as well as its recent moves to accelerate the delivery of 5G—the "Fourth Industrial Revolution" is here, according to a statement released Thursday. (The Fourth Industrial Revolution, according to TechRepublic's interview with Murat Sönmez, director of the World Economic Forum, is "simultaneous development across artificial intelligence, drones, autonomous vehicles, gene editing, new materials, and 3D printing.")

The joint effort is intended to let industrial enterprises harness edge computing (which many companies still struggle with implementing, largely due to low network speeds) and a low latency network with AI capabilities to help deliver real-time insights to companies, per the announcement. The speed of 5G has many benefits for the enterprise, including industrial automation, enhanced AI deployment, and improved use of IoT. (In May, Verizon announced the launch of a new lab to help spur 5G development, as TechRepublic previously reported.)

As industries race to pull actionable data to remain efficient and productive, the collaboration is positioned to deliver "mobile asset tracking and management solutions to help enterprises improve operations, optimize production quality, and help clients enhance worker safety," according to the release.

The partnership will harness Verizon's 5G Ultra Wideband 5G network—which rolled out in 30 cities across the US in 2019—its Multi-access Edge Computing, its ThingSpace IoT Platform and Critical Asset Sensor solution (CAS), together with IBM's Maximo Monitor with IBM Watson and advanced analytics, the release states, which can help enterprises highlight and address system issues and monitor asset health.

Companies are expected to gain real-time cognitive automation as a result of this partnership, which may include locating multiple devices at an industrial location. The 5G network is predicted to help organizations manage multiple devices in real time, which could have implications in robotics, video analytics, and plant automation, for instance, according to the release.

SEE: Future of 5G: Projections, rollouts, use cases, and more (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

"The industrial sector is undergoing unprecedented transformation as companies begin to return to full-scale operations, aided by new technology to help reduce costs and increase productivity," said Bob Lord, senior vice president, cognitive applications, blockchain and ecosystems, IBM, in the release. "Through this collaboration, we plan to build upon our longstanding relationship with Verizon to help industrial enterprises capitalize on joint solutions that are designed to be multicloud ready, secured and scalable, from the data center all the way out to the enterprise edge." 

The partners said they planned to team up on "worker safety, predictive maintenance, product quality and production automation," the release stated.

"This collaboration is all about enabling the future of industry in the Fourth Industrial Revolution," said Tami Erwin, CEO, Verizon Business, in the release. "Combining the high speed and low latency of Verizon's 5G UWB Network and MEC capabilities with IBM's expertise in enterprise-grade AI and production automation can provide industrial innovation on a massive scale and can help companies increase automation, minimize waste, lower costs, and offer their own clients a better response time and customer experience."

Also see