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.”

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Verizon develops 5G-enabled EMS solutions with its fourth First Responder Lab


Using 5G capabilities, the latest cohort is working on innovations like smart dispatching, remote monitoring, and real-time medical collaboration.

Image: iStockphoto/LightfieldStudios

Verizon announced the focus and members in the fourth cohort of its 5G First Responder Lab on Thursday. This year’s group of innovators will develop 5G solutions to directly support the EMS and patient journey, using Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network. 

“What we’re focusing on is everything from before something bad happens, to getting better visibility into what’s happening, all the way through the emergency response, and then all the way through to treatment,” said Nick Nilan, director of public sector product management at Verizon. “How do they get from the incident back to the hospital in a connected experience? How do we do that all on 5G?”

SEE: Hiring Kit: 5G Wireless System Engineer (TechRepublic Premium)

Verizon received 60 submissions and to the program selected the following companies to be part of this latest 5G First Responder Lab cohort: Biotricity, Rave Mobile Safety, DispatchHealth, Vuzix, and Visionable. 

Each company specializes in different innovations. Biotricity focuses on real-time remote medical monitoring; Rave Mobile Safety brings a critical communications and data sharing  platform; DispatchHealth offers on-call medical care to  your door; Vuzix optimizes augmented reality to better inform first responders; and Visionable has a platform for real-time medical collaboration. 

Equipped with those specialites, the companies are teaming up over the next six months to develop 5G solutions that ultimately make the job of EMS individuals more efficient, connected, and effective, Nilan said.

“We wanted to really take the time with this one and spend just about six months actually working with these companies, rolling up our sleeves together, and building a solution,” Nilan said. “What we hope to deliver is that end-to-end solution at the end of that cohort–— solution that showcases what 5G can deliver for EMS through that entire journey.” 

What is the 5G First Responder Lab? 

Nilan has been the executive sponsor of the 5G First Responder Lab since the first cohort in early 2018.

“[5G First Responder Lab] is really an opportunity for us to inspire the market to do more with 5G than just neat consumer applications,” Nilan said. “There’s going to be a lot of applications for consumers on 5G, but we wanted to make sure public safety, first responders, and emergency services had access to the innovation that we’ve seen from technology over the last couple of decades.”

Each cohort focuses on different types of solutions associated with first responders. Examples of past lab projects include drones that help route first responders during natural disasters and CBRNE sensors to better secure cities, according to Nilan. 

“The difference in this year’s is it’s focusing on a specific part of the public safety community. One that really has been struggling with a heavy workload, especially during COVID-19,” Nilan  said. 

“Oftentimes, they have a lack of vital information. They don’t always know all of the details: What they’re driving to, what they’re around when they arrive on scene,” Nilan noted. “We saw this as a real opportunity to focus on a specific part of the public safety community and deliver a better experience, to hopefully, at the end of the day, save lives.”

The idea for the fourth cohort actually started in Q4 of 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic hit. 

“What we wanted to do coming into this year was really focus that innovation in a specific area. And then when COVID happened … obviously, we saw the impacts there,” Nilan said. “The choice to support the EMS community with a new 5G solution was validated. 

“This is a community in need of solutions and technology to help them with their day-to-day mission. We’re very excited about being able to build an end-to-end solution that hopefully addresses that,” Nilan added. 

Verizon is currently accepting applications for the fifth cohort of its 5G First Responder Lab, which focuses on fire responders and situational awareness. The fifth cohort participants will be selected at the end of 2020. 

For more, check out Verizon’s 5G build acceleration continues on TechRepublic. 

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