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How IBM is Powering the Next Generation of Network Automation and Telecommunications Solutions: Delivering on Our Vision for Growth

By Andrew Coward, GM of Software Defined Networking, IBM and Stephen Rose, GM, TME & Distribution | Mobile World Congress Barcelona 2023
February 27, 2023

This week, thousands of people from all over the world are convening in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress. This week is always exciting for our team at IBM because we believe that when our...

This week, thousands of people from all over the world are convening in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress. This week is always exciting for our team at IBM because we believe that when our industry comes together and collaborates, tremendous progress is made.

This year, we predict that 5G, intelligent automation and hybrid cloud will continue to dominate the conversation throughout the week. Why? Because modern enterprises and telecommunications providers are experiencing a seismic shift.

The rapid growth in hybrid multicloud environments, that we have seen, has created a new paradigm in the network space. Enterprises are navigating a hyper-distributed application environment spanning multiple public and private clouds and on-premises environments, scattered user bases and remote/hybrid employees, as well as massive amounts of data being generated from many different data streams. Network managers run the risk of losing control of their networks as they work to deploy and connect all of their application endpoints at massive scale.

That’s where AI and automation come in. As a leading hybrid cloud and AI company, IBM is in a perfect position to help enterprises take back control of their networks, embrace intelligent automation, evolve to zero-touch network operations for their next generation networks, and transform their delivery and business models.

Bringing Intelligent Automation to RAN Solutions

As communications service providers (CSPs) around the globe continue to deploy their 5G and next generation networks, RAN intelligence and automation solutions can help them more effectively monetize and optimize investments in their networks. IBM understands that this progress cannot be done in silos, and we must work with industry partners to drive innovation.

That’s why Juniper Networks recently announced intentions to expand our collaboration with them by pursuing the integration of IBM’s network automation capabilities with Juniper’s Radio Access Network (RAN) and Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) technology. In doing so, we intend to explore ways in which we both may be able to deliver a unified RAN management platform.

By leveraging the use of IBM Cloud Pak® for Network Automation, Juniper Networks and IBM plans to enable CSPs with the ability to develop disaggregated, multi-vendor, and economically viable radio networks that prioritize the best outcomes for their clients.

It would be a further commitment to help organizations monetize, optimize, and scale their investments in next-generation networks and provide better experiences to mobile users.

You can find out more about this latest announcement, here: Juniper Networks Expands Collaboration with IBM to Bring Intelligent Automation to Radio Network Solutions.

Nokia and IBM

IBM and Nokia have a history of collaborating to support enterprise customers. In 2020, we extended the collaboration to IBM Cloud technology and we now intend to build a seamless, simplified private 5G managed service offering to ultimately deliver private 5G solutions on IBM Cloud Satellite to enterprise customers. As clients innovate at the edge, IBM Cloud Satellite helps provide enhanced resiliency, performance, security and compliance capabilities.

Additionally, we intend to explore ways to enable CSPs to design, automatically build, instantly connect, as well as operate and observe their private 5G environments using a unified management stack. Supported by IBM Consulting's systems integration expertise Nokia intends to integrate IBM’s Cloud Pak for Network Automation solution into our current joint offering, which IBM has validated for the deployment of IBM Cloud Satellite. CSPs may be able to address new connectivity demands in a flexible, simplified, automated way that provides them with the ability to potentially offer enterprise connectivity solutions at scale. Enterprises may benefit from a secure, customized connectivity services enabled by a highly available 5G Cloud network.

This could give CSPs the ability to run applications elastically and connect across multiple private 5G environments, regardless of their geographic location.

Nokia is a well-known leader in 5G networks, and private wireless. IBM brings use case driven cross-industry knowledge and experience across automation, AI, and hybrid cloud. It's a natural next step for collaboration as enterprise’s drive their digital transformation forward and continue to place considerable emphasis on their network’s connectivity.

Learn more about our work with Nokia at our joint speaking session, located in Theatre 1, Hall 6 on Wednesday, March 1st at 17:30-18:00pm CET - Accelerating Private 5G Adoption in Enterprises.

Spirent and IBM

Further extending into our ecosystem, IBM and Spirent also plan to expand their collaborative efforts to integrate IBM’s Cloud Pak for Network Automation and Spirent test and active assurance solution into our current joint offering.

In doing so, we intend to help clients who rely on multiple vendors for their networking solutions automate the 5G cloud-native deployment process and ensure that software entering the networking environments works as our clients desire. We believe this will accelerate time to market for delivering new services, while also keeping a service provider’s network running smoothly.

Through this collaboration, we intend to help Vodafone automate their continuous testing, integration, and deployment of their network’s functionality and cloud software updates. For Vodafone, the proposed solution contemplated by IBM and Spirent may offer a way forward to fully realizing the customer benefits of 5G.

IBM and Spirent will showcase our joint solution at Mobile World Congress 2023 and you can check out the presentation Conception to Execution: Optimizing the Testing Process, on Tuesday, February 28th at 14:45 – 15:45pm CET and also throughout the show at the IBM Booth in Hall 2 Stand #2H20.

Optimizing Investments in the Network with Hybrid Multicloud Connectivity

Enterprises are at risk of losing control of their networks. A 2022 study conducted by IDC on the state of Multicloud Networking for Enterprises found that 76%[1] of enterprises are moving to edge, hybrid, and multicloud networks. In addition, the study said that with respect to the shift to hybrid and multicloud, enterprises are also dealing with hyper-distributed application usage, a scattered user base, various and sometimes non-compliant data streams. The same IDC study uncovered that when an enterprise fails to modernize their network infrastructure, the network can become a major inhibitor to digital transformation.

Additionally, and as we’ve seen amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic, control of the enterprise network is no longer a clear-cut process for businesses that have employees around the world. Due to the current and potentially long-lasting impact of hybrid workforces, enterprises now must consider their network’s stability across personal devices and platforms, as well as in corporate offices.

Learn more about how IBM is bracing for the era of hyper-distributed applications and helping remove complexity out of hybrid multicloud connectivity at our session in MWL Broadcast Studio, Hall 4 on Wednesday, March 1st at 13:15 - 13:45pm CET.

Let’s Continue the Conversation

It’s great to be back in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress 2023, and we invite you to join us learn more about how we’re applying AI and automation to help organizations unlock new revenue potential, optimize network operations, enable differentiated experiences, and fortify security across the enterprise network.

We hope you’ll join us on Wednesday, March 1st from 16:30pm-18:00pm CET in Hall 6, theater 1 for a dialogue with industry leaders including DISH Networks, Samsung Mobile, Nokia and more, or stop by our IBM Booth in Hall 2 Stand #2H20 to meet with our experts in person.

Statements regarding IBM's future direction and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice and represent goals and objectives only.


Media Contact:

Luca Sesti
IBM Communications


[1] IDC PlanScape: Multicloud Networking for Enterprises; doc # US49357522; July 2022

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