Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

IBM and Verizon collaborate on 5G and IoT

Steve Rogerson
July 22, 2020



Verizon and IBM are combining the high speed and low latency of Verizon's 5G and multi-access edge compute (MEC) capabilities, IoT devices and sensors at the edge, and IBM's expertise in AI, hybrid multi-cloud, edge computing, asset management and connected operations.
 
Many enterprises are seeking ways to use edge computing to accelerate access to near real-time, actionable insights into operations to improve productivity and reduce costs. To address this, the first services from this collaboration are to be mobile asset tracking and management to help enterprises improve operations, optimise production quality and enhance worker safety.
 
The two companies plan to leverage Verizon's wireless networks, including its 5G ultra wideband (UWB) network and MEC capabilities, alongside Verizon's ThingSpace IoT platform and critical asset sensor. These will be jointly offered with IBM's Maximo Monitor with IBM Watson and analytics.
 
The combination could help detect, locate, diagnose and respond to system anomalies, monitor asset health and predict failures in near real time.
 
IBM and Verizon are also working on potential combinations for 5G and MEC-enabled use cases such as near real-time cognitive automation for the industrial environment.
 
Edge computing's decentralised architecture brings technology resources closer to where data are generated, that is where devices are located in an industrial site. This can help decrease lags in response time and increase processing speeds and reliability.
 
5G's low latency, high download speeds and capacity can increase the number of devices that can be supported within the same geographic area, and the ability for organisations to interact with those devices in near real time, with computing power in the proximity of the device. This could mean that innovative new applications such as remote control robotics, near real-time cognitive video analysis and plant automation may now be possible.
 
"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 at IBM. "Through this collaboration, we plan to build upon our longstanding relationship with Verizon to help industrial enterprises capitalise on joint solutions that are designed to be multi-cloud ready, secured and scalable, from the data centre all the way out to the enterprise edge."
 
Verizon and IBM also plan to collaborate on potential joint products to address worker safety, predictive maintenance, product quality and production automation.
 
"This collaboration is all about enabling the future of industry in the fourth industrial revolution," said Tami Erwin, CEO of Verizon Business. "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, minimise waste, lower costs and offer their own clients a better response time and customer experience."