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COVID-19 has accelerated importance of AI, hybrid cloud computing: IBM CEO

IBM CEO Arvind Krishna has announced a range of new AI-powered services and hybrid cloud computing initiatives to help clients recover from Covid-19 pandemic.

Addressing stakeholders, which numbered 90,000 at its Think Digital virtual conference, Krishna underlined that history would look back on this as the moment when the digital transformation of business and society suddenly accelerated.

The IT landscape is changing as a result of the pandemic, and this is also putting a lot of stress on existing systems- from addressing the delivery to regulatory aspects. “With this crisis, the importance of hybrid cloud and AI has accelerated. IT transformation journeys that would have lasted a few years are being packed into months,” he said.

Earlier, IBM launched Watson AIOps, a new offering which uses AI to automate and enable companies to diagnose, self-detect and respond to IT issues in real-time. This is an area where billions of dollars are spent on maintaining IT systems every year – from banks to pharmaceutical companies. Watson AIOps is built on Red Hat OpenShift to run across hybrid cloud environments and works with collaboration technologies at the centre of today’s distributed work environments, such as Slack and Box.

The push for adopting digital since the onset of Covid-19 is something which even Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently eluded to. In Microsoft’s recent earnings call, Nadella had said that two years of digital transformation have happened in 2 months.

Such a massive surge in demand could result in an outage and consequently lost revenue opportunity, if IT systems are not in place. Market research firm Aberdeen pegs an outage at about $260,000/hour.

With new offerings built on Red Hat OpenShift, enterprises have the ability to autonomously manage workloads across a massive volume of edge devices.

Krishna also is bullish about the demand from telecom. “As 5G adoption expands, telecommunications providers can quickly provide new services,” said Krishna. Vodafone Business, is working with IBM to help improve worker safety and productivity in remote locations such as oil rigs, factories, warehouses, ports and mines. Combining Vodafone Mobile Private Networks, IBM Edge Application Manager and Red Hat OpenShift, the new solution uses sensors, AI, as well as predictive and video analytics to understand and respond to incidents in milliseconds, keeping workers safe, according to Krishna.

“Technology platforms are the basis for competitive advantage in the 21st century and it will determine how quickly an organisation can pivot to new market opportunities, serve clients, how much you can scale, and how fast you can respond to a crisis like the one we’re facing today,” stated Krishna.

All these, however, raise concerns over big tech companies cornering a bigger market share going forward.

―The Hindu Business Line

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