Telefónica Tech and IBM to help enterprises get to grips with AI

Telefónica Tech and IBM have launched a joint effort to capitalise on AI fever among enterprises.

Nick Wood

June 18, 2024

3 Min Read

The partnership, initially limited to Telefónica's home country of Spain, is fairly broad in scope, and essentially allows for the companies to work together to solve whatever digital transformation challenges that enterprises might come up against.

Chief among them is integrating data analytics and AI – including generative AI (GenAI) – and then maximising its potential.

According to an IBM study, almost 50% of Spanish companies already working with AI have accelerated their investments over the last 24 months. This represents an opportunity for the likes of Telefónica Tech and IBM to provide the solutions that will give these companies a helping hand.

Telefónica and IBM will start by developing an open, hybrid and multi-cloud platform that can be used for data management and AI, giving enterprises a foundation upon which they can build solutions that extract maximum value and insight from corporate data.

Called Shark.X, it is built from various IBM hardware and software components – including its virtualised storage, compute and networking solution (its so-called hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI)) – and deployed at La Cabina, which is Telefónica Tech's enterprise innovation centre.

Shark.X aims to cover the entire value chain associated with enterprise data management and analytics, and incorporates IBM's watsonx AI and data platform for developing and deploying AI applications.

Telefónica Tech will provide consultancy services to define the most appropriate deployment architecture for each customer, integrate the solution into their environment, and develop AI use cases.

Telefónica Tech and IBM have also established a use case office to showcase the capabilities of their joint offerings, and develop and demonstrate a range of MVPs (minimum viable products).

Staffed by IBM's client engineering team and Telefónica Tech's AI implementation experts, some of these use cases are already up and running. They include various GenAI solutions that can generate code for IT applications; cognitive assistants in industrial operations; process automation; customer service; analytics; and processing and management of audiovisual content and text documents.

On top of all that, Telefónica and IBM also aim to provide a range of learning resources, training and certification programmes to get AI-hungry enterprises up to speed with the required skills.

Indeed, as Gartner predicted towards the back end of last year, more than 80% of global enterprises will have used GenAI application programming interfaces (APIs) or models, and/or deployed GenAI-powered applications in production environments by 2026, compared to less than 5% in 2023.

The research firm highlighted at the time that a key consideration for any enterprise looking to make use of AI is trust, risk and security management (TRiM) – making sure AI works properly to generate accurate and productive results, and avoiding the many pitfalls like unethical recommendations or leaking sensitive data.

This is perhaps where a bit of hand-holding from Telefónica and IBM will prove most valuable – giving enterprises a steer on best practices to ensure they use this powerful new technology responsibly.

"This new collaboration with IBM will help drive the many benefits of artificial intelligence, traditional and generative, and proper data management in the business world," said Elena Gil Lizasoain, director of Telefónica Tech's artificial intelligence and data business unit. "By combining the knowledge of both teams, we will continue to advance in the construction of use cases aimed at creating more efficient and sustainable businesses."

About the Author(s)

Nick Wood

Nick is a freelancer who has covered the global telecoms industry for more than 15 years. Areas of expertise include operator strategies; M&As; and emerging technologies, among others. As a freelancer, Nick has contributed news and features for many well-known industry publications. Before that, he wrote daily news and regular features as deputy editor of Total Telecom. He has a first-class honours degree in journalism from the University of Westminster.

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