5 Blockbuster Cisco Telecom Partnerships From Mobile World Congress

MWC 2016: Not Just For Smartphones And Tablets

Mobile World Congress 2016 started with a bang Monday with Cisco and the telco world expanding partnerships and unveiling technology innovations.

The San Jose, Calif.-based network leader tightened its ties in the carrier space with Verizon and AT&T and unveiled a new sales force integration with Ericsson. Cisco also rolled out a new mobile platform that applies software-defined networking (SDN).

Underscoring Cisco's laser focus on the Internet of Things, it expanded its relationship with AT&T, while also forming an IoT Open Connectivity Foundation with Microsoft, Intel, Samsung and Qualcomm, to name a few. The foundation aims to help unify IoT standards so companies and developers can create IoT solutions and devices to work seamlessly together.

Here are five Cisco- and telecom-related news items from Day 1 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

Cisco, Verizon Partner For 5G Innovation

Cisco, Ericsson and Intel are all members of telecom giant Verizon's 5G Technology Forum. The three companies said they will collaborate to develop and test what could be the first of its kind -- a 5G router.

5G technology is boasting networking speeds of more than 30 times faster than 4G LTE connections. Cisco, alongside Intel and Ericsson, said this router will give both business and residential users access to significantly faster speeds with lower latency. The router will also help handle the onslaught of Internet-connected devices and more users streaming HD video.

As members of the forum, the companies will continue to work with Verizon to accelerate innovation around 5G technology, according to the Basking Ridge, N.J.-based carrier.

Cisco Launches Ultra Services Platform

The networking giant launched its new Cisco Ultra Services Platform, which it touts as a feature-rich, virtualized platform that helps mobile operators launch and deploy new services faster and more efficiently.

Cisco says it applies software-defined networking to separate control and user plane functionality that can be distributed close to the radio access network, allowing data to shortcut to the Internet. Service control and creation can be centralized, with the system able to handle more than 2 terabytes per second of traffic and more than 20 million connections.

Ultra can integrate with third-party components and be deployed over public, private and hybrid clouds, which can be combined with Cisco Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions such as Cisco Spark. Cisco recently revamped Spark last year to a complete end-to-end collaboration solution aimed at providing channel partners with a slew of new recurring revenue opportunities.

Cisco, Microsoft, Intel, Samsung Form Open IoT Group

IT giants Cisco, Microsoft, Intel, Qualcomm and Samsung as well as Arris, CableLabs, Electrolux and GE Digital have created an open Internet of Things (IoT) organization.

The Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) was formed with the goal to help unify IoT standards so companies and developers can create IoT solutions and devices to work seamlessly together. The goals of OCF is to unlock "massive" opportunity for the future global IoT segment, accelerate innovation and help organizations create solutions that map to a single, open IoT interoperability specification, according to OCF's website.

"OCF will help enable developers and industries around consumer, (Service Provider), enterprise, industrial to leverage promise of IoT in a scalable and secure manner," said John Oberon, vice president of Cisco's IoT Software, in a statement.

"The OCF will help consolidate industry attention and create opportunity, via an agreed upon set of protocols that move the world forward. We are designing Windows 10 to be the ideal operating system and Azure to be the best cloud companion for Things, and for both of them to interoperate with all Things," said Terry Myerson, executive vice president for Microsoft's Windows and Devices Group, in a statement.

Cisco, AT&T Intensify IoT Relationship

Cisco and telecom provider AT&T are expanding on their existing IoT partnership outside of smart cities at this year's Mobile World Congress.

The two powerhouses plan to help business customers deploy and monetize IoT apps by combining IoT technologies. Specifically, developers using AT&T's Global SIM, AT&T's Control Center and AT&T's IoT Services will now also have access to Cisco’s Fog computing solutions. This combination allows developers to build IoT apps, and sends and analyzes data from the apps more easily and quickly, according to Dallas-based AT&T.

This extended partnership between Cisco and AT&T includes asset management, transportation and retail, in addition to smart cities, Cisco said.

Cisco Enhancing Partnership With Ericsson

Although there is nothing tangible as far as technology innovation is concerned, Cisco and Ericcson say the company's sales forces are successfully engaging with customers around the globe on business deals around networking, mobility and cloud technologies, IP transformation and managed services agreements.

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins (pictured) said in a statement, "Our complementary portfolios and intense customer focus make me more convinced than ever that Cisco and Ericsson's unique partnership will drive even greater growth for our customers and faster innovation for the industry."

The two companies also signed a joint intellectual property rights agreement and professional services agreement. The services agreement will leverage a combination of 66,000 Ericsson and 11,000 Cisco services employees to offer consulting, systems integration, support and managed services across IT and networks in 180 countries.

They also unveiled an new contract with Dominican Republic cable operator Aster, that uses Ericsson's Mediaroom TV Platform and video compression solution with Cisco's Evolved Converge Cable Access Platform, cBR-8.