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The Edge

Verizon, IBM team up on 5G and edge computing

Verizon and IBM said they would work together to develop enterprise products and services using edge computing and 5G.

"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," IBM's Bob Lord, SVP of cognitive applications, blockchain and ecosystems, said in a release from the companies.

IBM and Verizon said their first offerings would target "mobile asset tracking and management solutions," and that, eventually, they hope to offer products for remote control robotics, real-time video analysis and plant automation.

While the companies' target areas remain relatively vague, their partnership touches on several hot-button topics and centers on a pairing between two of the biggest technology companies in the US.

For IBM, the announcement underscores its efforts to offer products and services in the edge computing marketplace, an area that's becoming a key focus for a variety of businesses looking for speedy computing services via nearby or onsite facilities.

And for Verizon, the announcement adds further momentum to its 5G and edge computing ambitions. Company executives have long argued that the combination of 5G and edge computing has a wide range of enterprise applications, and Verizon's new pairing with IBM could open the doors to more potential customers for such services.

To be clear, Verizon has been working to stamp out a position in the 5G and edge computing sector for years. The company hopes to offer its high-speed, millimeter-wave 5G network across 60 cities by the end of this year, and concurrently it has said it will launch nationwide 5G on lowband spectrum in that same timeframe. Separately, Verizon late last year announced it would team up with Amazon to support its AWS edge computing initiative.

But Verizon's edge computing efforts don't stop there. The company joined América Móvil, KT, Rogers, Telstra and Vodafone to establish the "5G Future Forum" in January in part to accelerate the development of Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC)-enabled solutions. The group this week announced it will release its first technical specifications in the third quarter.

Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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