IBM & Vodafone join forces to boost AI, get 5G off the ground

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IBM and Vodafone entered a $550 million partnership to address connectivity issues that keep companies from seamlessly combining cloud and artificial intelligence technologies.

IBM's collaboration with Vodafone aims to speed deployment of 5G — the fifth generation of wireless internet speed — to provide easier access to technologies such as AI, blockchain and Internet of Things, IBM General Manager Michael Valocchi, said in a news release.

"The promise of 5G doesn't just depend on fiber, spectrum and gadgets, but on advanced levels of integration, automation, optimization and security across the ever more complex IT systems that companies are building in a bid to transform," Mr. Valocchi said.

The importance of 5G has also been expressed within the healthcare industry. Recently, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives submitted a statement to a Senate subcommittee, prompting investment in the newest generation of cellular internet connectivity.

CHIME listed telehealth, remote monitoring, interoperability and big data as particular areas in healthcare that would benefit from 5G. "Untethering patients from the capabilities [of] a traditional network will alter patient engagement and mitigate existing access challenges," the CHIME statement reads.

5G is not expected to replace 4G in the U.S. until 2020.

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