AT&T Launches New AI, Microservice Initiatives

AT&T this morning unveiled multiple new initiatives, all based on collaboration efforts, just in time for its annual AT&T Summit. The new initiatives address key technology areas such as artificial intelligence, microservices, expanded cloud offerings and enhanced security. (See AT&T Launches Microservice Supplier Program with IBM and AT&T Launches Open Source AI Platform.)

Two major new efforts involve a new open source artificial intelligence (AI) platform, Acumos, to be developed by AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Tech Mahindra Ltd. but hosted as an open source project by the Linux Foundation , and a new microservices supplier platform that AT&T has developed and for which IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) will now be developing microservices.

The other announcements involve expanded cloud offerings with Amazon Web Services Inc. and enhanced security offers for Box users.

On the AI front, the Acumos platform is intended to become "a marketplace for accessing, using and enhancing those [AI] applications," according to an AT&T statement. While this is the second open source project -- after ONAP -- that AT&T has developed with the Linux Foundation, this time around the network operator is getting this framework into open source more quickly so the developer community can begin its work.

According to AT&T, Acumos is an extensible framework, which will provide the ability to "edit, integrate, compose, package, train and deploy AI microservices," becoming a marketplace where those microservices can be chained to create AI services.

"Our goal with open sourcing the Acumos platform is to make building and deploying AI applications as easy as creating a website," said Mazin Gilbert, vice president of Advanced Technology at AT&T Labs, in the release. "We're collaborating with Tech Mahindra to establish an industry standard for AI in the networking space. We invite others to join us to create a global harmonization in AI and set the stage for all future AI network applications and services."

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The AT&T-IBM collaboration is focused on AT&T's internal processes, trying to enable AT&T to more quickly develop microservices, the goal being to make the carrier more flexible. IBM will be creating microservices that will allow AT&T to update its business processes and the more than 2,200 applications in its IT systems to enable faster deployment of new services and capabilities.

"Our software journey has focused on virtualizing our network functions to give more speed and flexibility than the traditional hardware model," said Melissa Arnoldi, president, AT&T Technology and Operations, in a company statement. "We're now looking at the 2,200+ apps in our IT system. And we're starting to break them up into microservices to create agility, speed, and scalability that wasn't possible before. Microservices are at the very core of our vision for the future of our network."

Light Reading's Kelsey Ziser is on site at the AT&T Summit and will have further details on these initiatives in the coming days.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

COMMENTS Add Comment
Michelle 11/11/2017 | 10:45:38 AM
Re: early bot gets the ping I think this could be a very good thing for AT&T. It could easily be tanked by poor management of the marketplace or usage terms that aren't friendly to contributors. We shall see!
kq4ym 11/11/2017 | 9:38:01 AM
Re: early bot gets the ping And not only is AI getting lots of buzz, collaboration among big companies is also trending bigtime. That will be an interesting facit to watch over coming years as competitive urges perhaps gets moderated a bit by cooperating in larger projects.
Michelle 10/31/2017 | 4:35:58 PM
early bot gets the ping The AI marketplace is an interesting addition. Now is the right time to get into providing such access to developers. The market is still quite new for AI powered things.
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