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IBM Hybrid Cloud platform Senior VP on expanding 5G

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Howard Boville, Senior Vice President, IBM Hybrid Cloud Platform, joins Yahoo Finance to discuss IBM broadening 5G deals with Verizon and Telefonica by offering new cloud services.

Video Transcript

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOUROS: Welcome back. IBM has just landed hybrid cloud deals with Verizon, our parent company, and Telefonica of Spain, as it aims to build out 5G and edge networks. Here to talk about it exclusively on Yahoo Finance is Howard Boville, senior vice president of IBM Hybrid Cloud Platform. Howard, it's good to have you on the show again. I know that these partnerships were announced today by your CEO Arvind Krishna during Mobile World Congress' keynote speech. I know that you already work with Verizon when it comes to 5G. So how does this partnership build on that?

HOWARD BOVILLE: Both companies continue to innovate, so Verizon around the technology landscape with the fixed line and the mobile assets that you have as a company. And then what IBM brings to that is the ability to run applications at the edge in a secure fashion but also allow the actual pace of innovation to run quicker because of building these capabilities on Red Hat OpenShift, which is an open source platform that allows a large, multimillion developer community to develop against it.

KRISTIN MYERS: Now, Howard, I know that you're touching on it just a little bit, but for those at home that don't fully understand really how this technology works, how is this a game changer, really using the cloud on these five networks, at least in terms of performance and speed?

HOWARD BOVILLE: So 5G is a real game changer that Verizon is bringing to the marketplace. As you mentioned, full speed. It allows things such as gaming, things taking place in factories from the internet of things and so on and so forth. But the applications that run need to run on a capability. And that's what IBM brings to the partnership.

And with Red Hat OpenShift, we bring an open platform of which, as I say, many millions of developers can develop against that, which then consumers of that can actually benefit from those innovations. Many exciting things, some of which we can imagine now in terms of gaming, but many new things that will develop over the coming months and years.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOUROS: And Howard, I know something else that was announced today is these telcos are now going to be able to access AI-powered automation software through something called IBM's Cloud Pack for Network Automation. Tell us a little bit about this. And what will they be able to do with that tool in their toolbox?

HOWARD BOVILLE: So artificial intelligence is at the heart of our strategy. But essentially, what we're always trying to do with artificial intelligence is to make the consumer's experience as frictionless and convenient. So all of the technology components, all of these buzzwords that we use can sometimes be a little bit bewildering and difficult to put together. But what we do with the AI is actually make the experience easier.

And in the case of Cloud Packs for Network Automation, we can reduce the automation time by a factor of six. So it means that you can actually use the capability far more quickly than what you would ordinarily, therefore creating this frictionless and convenient experience that we'll look to put into every customer environment that we operate within.

KRISTIN MYERS: Now, Howard, IBM is not the only-- sorry about that, Alexis. But IBM, I know, is not the only company in this space. There's Amazon. There's Microsoft that are also trying to jump in into 5G. What is IBM doing to really stay ahead of its competitors?

HOWARD BOVILLE: It's the pace of innovation that we get because of the actual philosophy that we have as a company. So other companies take a proprietary approach, that it will be their developers that develop things at their pace and against their actual capabilities. The philosophy that IBM has is very different.

So we build upon open source-based technologies, which means that in the case of the Red Hat OpenShift capabilities, we have 8 million developers developing against that platform. They're clearly not IBM employees. So there's all those different points of innovation coming from lots of different minds against the platform.

We'll also integrate into other different areas as well, which puts a far greater ecosystem, which means we can also draw upon innovation from other partners as well, not just the partnership that we've announced here. So we feel that the platform that we build gives a much quicker pace for innovation and a far better, frictionless, and more convenient experience for our customers.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOUROS: Can you give us a feel for what some of these real life use cases are? I mean, how might this affect my everyday life, the ability for companies that I use, especially the telcos, to be able to make my interactions with companies a little more heightened, if you will, by using AI?

HOWARD BOVILLE: Yeah. Telcos are really at the heart of the next wave of technology innovation, where everything actually has a device that's being monitored and gives you these easier experiences, whether it's your actual driverless cars, whether it's actually manufacturing capabilities that are automated to actually give an augmented work to the actual workers in those factories to remove the drudgery and get to the higher value tasks for them.

Network carriers such as Verizon will actually be leading that way with 5G-based technology in partnerships like the one that we have with IBM to add intelligence to the edge. So there's a range of different innovations that I talked about there but many more, Alexis, that will come down the pike in short order against that pace of innovation with all of the developers that I talked about.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOUROS: I know that you have about 30 partners right now in your ecosystem. Can you give us a feel for what might be happening with IBM and cloud platform for the rest of the year and into early next year?

HOWARD BOVILLE: Yeah. So we have, I think it's 40 now, ecosystem partners for the telecommunications side. That's been increasing at a rate of 0. So we'd expect to continue to see that throughout the course of the year. Why is that important? It's important because not all ideas can be generated within one company. And therefore, if you can capture those points of ideas across this broader ecosystem, it can create a platform that gives much greater and richer experience for our customers such as yourselves but also value for the actual ecosystem and partners that sit on this open platform.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOUROS: All right, Howard Boville, senior VP IBM Hybrid Cloud Platform, always good to see you.