Airtel and IBM partner on edge cloud services in India

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IBM and Bharti Airtel are partnering to deploy Airtel's edge computing platform in India, which will span 120 network data centres across 20 cities.

Once operational, the edge platform is designed to support large enterprises across multiple industries including manufacturing and automotive to employ innovative solutions at the edge.

"As India gears up to experience 5G, we see a massive opportunity to help businesses across industries transform how they deliver goods and services," said Ganesh Lakshminarayanan, CEO of Enterprise, Airtel Business.

"We have the largest network of edge data centres available in India under the Nxtra brand and we will leverage our work with IBM to help Indian businesses address their critical business needs with greater efficiency, making it significantly easier for companies to process workloads where their data resides."

Airtel's edge computing platform is developed as a hybrid environment based on IBM Cloud Satellite and Red Hat OpenShift, extending secure and open cloud services.

Airtel's solution is powered by IBM Maximo Visual Inspection for AI-enabled quality inspection. At the same time, IBM Consulting is to lead the systems integration for the IBM platform. Leveraging these combined capabilities IBM and Airtel Digital engineering teams will build use cases that merge both Airtel's 5G connectivity and IBM's hybrid cloud capabilities.

"As businesses – particularly those in regulated industries – work to modernize their infrastructures, they need to be able to do so in a way that enables them to stay compliant, without becoming overburdened by their compliance obligations -- regardless of where their data resides," said Howard Boville, head of IBM Cloud Platform.

"Teaming with Airtel to bring IBM's hybrid cloud offerings to their Indian multi-access edge compute customers will help them embrace the opportunities presented by 5G and edge, like innovating with greater speed and security."

India's largest passenger car maker, Maruti Suzuki India, intends to use the edge platform to increase accuracy and efficiency for quality inspections on the factory floor.

"We are excited to work with Airtel Business and IBM to set an even higher benchmark and explore the vast possibilities of deploying AI and analytics at the edge to augment the expertise of our workforce," said Rajesh Uppal, senior executive director of HR and IT, Maruti Suzuki.