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Kyndryl Partners With Nokia To Boost Edge, 5G Offerings

‘We’ll do all these things, basically integrate all the technology together, make sure that it works for [customers],’ Paul Savill, Kyndryl’s global practice leader for networking and edge computing, tells CRN. “And in the end, if they want us to manage it for them, that wireless network on-site, then we’re perfectly capable of doing that.’

As part of the efforts by recent IBM spin off-Kyndryl to build up its edge and network practice, the services provider has unveiled a new partnership with Nokia centered around bringing long-term evolution (LTE) and 5G private wireless networking services to customers in the industrial sector.

Nokia will contribute its Digital Automation Cloud application platform to the partnership while Kyndryl provides consulting, design implementation and managed services, according to a statement Thursday. The companies will develop integrated services in areas including edge, cloud, 4G, 5G and network operations.

Paul Savill, Kyndryl’s global practice leader for networking and edge computing, told CRN in an interview that the goal is to provide companies with turnkey, private 5G services, taking telemetry data Nokia collects and processing it through Kyndryl’s cloud with analytical capabilities and tools.

[Related: Microsoft, Kyndryl Ink Global Strategic Partnership]

Kyndryl will acquire or reserve spectrum for customers, provide design services, set up edge compute environments, find areas for automation and machine learning, and integrate the new technology with their networks.

“We’ll do all these things, basically integrate all the technology together, make sure that it works for them,” Savill said. “And in the end, if they want us to manage it for them, that wireless network on-site, then we‘re perfectly capable of doing that.”

The companies have deployed services and created proofs of concept in areas including worker safety, worker collaboration and asset tracking, according to the statement. The partnership seeks to address current opportunities in the industrial space with LTE while paving the way for 5G enhancements in 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) standards releases in the future.

Kyndryl is focused on large enterprises to start, but Savill said the company’s services eventually could present an opportunity for midsize businesses, Savill said.

Savill said that Kyndryl is continuing to find new ways to partner with the major cloud providers such as Microsoft and Google Cloud, which will help unlock new capabilities for its edge and network practice. Kyndryl is working on incorporating some of Nokia’s work with Azure’s edge stack in future offerings, he said.

“This 5G piece is part of a bigger strategy that we have around creating more integrated industry solutions,” he said. “And so one of the things that we‘ll be building out as a next step here is to precertify a lot of IoT tooling, IoT management systems that will integrate with the 5G network and also integrate with an edge compute stack that will standardize across all of those technologies so we can make it easy for customers in particular sectors to have the complete toolset of technologies that they need to do a nice, rapid, cookie-cutter implementation across many locations,” Savill said.

“We‘ve already been working with the ecosystem around the IoT space and in the industrial sector and lining up the folks that we think make a good fit and are complementary to each other so that we can put all the pieces of the puzzle together for our customers.”

Although the market for digital transformation through edge and 5G is competitive, what will help Kyndryl sell its services is additional practices around cloud and security, according to Savill.

“At Kyndryl, we’ve had a lot of conversations between myself and those two other practice leaders about how we really have a good opportunity to approach the customer in a way that not many companies can,” he said. “When you combine our security practice capabilities with our cloud practice capabilities and our networking and edge practice capabilities, we can really create these tightly managed and complete solutions for customers that can really simplify the amount of integration that they have got to do between all these different technology areas that have to coexist.”

Kyndryl’s separation from IBM, where it functioned as IBM’s managed infrastructure services business, is key to Kyndryl exploring new technologies and inking new partnerships, Savill said.

“The tie was so tight to IBM that it was like we majored in IBM technology, and so this other stuff that was out there was interesting, but we weren’t permitted to explore and seek that stuff out and innovate with that technology,” Savill said. “ But all that’s changed now. And so there’s a real desire in the company to be innovative, to look outside the company’s capabilities at emerging things.”

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