IBM Corp. this week released details of new collaborations and expanded partner relationships in hybrid cloud, AI, network automation and security at Mobile World Congress Los Angeles (MWC LA).

On the collaboration front, the company is planning initiatives with:

  • Boston Dynamics in an agreement IBM said is “focused on delivering data analysis at the edge to help companies address worker safety, optimize field operations, and boost maintenance productivity in industrial environments such as manufacturing facilities, power plants and warehouses.”
  • Cisco through an agreement that will integrate IBM Cloud Pak for Network Automation and Cisco Crosswork Network Automation software to enable orchestration and management of virtual 5G networks.
  • An agreement with Palo Alto Networks in which the two companies will extend their relationship to “help address security requirements” for telecom operators deploying 5G networks and edge services.

“A recent study from the IBM Institute for Business Value on "The end of communications services as we know them" revealed that 59% of high performing CSPs surveyed agree they must become secure clouds infused with AI and automation,” said Andrew Coward, general manager of software defined networking at IBM.

“(It) also says, that communications service providers (CSPs) are thinking more strategically about 5G-enabled edge computing more for its ability to building more revenues as 5G and edge computing usher in a new reality for businesses.”

Meanwhile, the GSMA Intelligence's Mobile Economy North America 2021 report also launched at MWC LA. It reveals that North American mobile operators continued the momentum in 5G adoption throughout 2020. By the end of 2025, 5G forecast will account for almost two-thirds of mobile connections, equivalent to nearly 270 million connections. 

The research found that “operators in the region demonstrated resilience and continued leadership in 5G deployment throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite various restrictions related to virus containment, the mobile industry played a vital role in keeping society and economies everywhere connected when they needed it most.” 

Other key findings included: 

  • Mobile operators in North America will invest US$300 billion in their networks between 2020 and 2025, of which 98% will be dedicated to 5G.
  • 5G coverage and open RAN (Radio Access Networks) top RAN priorities, while virtualization investments and security are critical for the core network.
  • Despite growing confidence in open and virtualized RAN, there is recognition that accelerated measures are needed to ensure equipment interoperability, security, reliability, and sufficient systems integration capabilities and skills. 
  • The urgency to deploy IoT projects is stronger in the U.S. than in other countries, with around two in five companies planning to deploy IoT within a year, and one in five targeting deployments within two years.
  • The U.N.'s Race to Zero campaign declared that the mobile industry made a critical 'breakthrough' in early 2021, as more than a third of operators by revenue had committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 or earlier.