Interesting developments always come out of the annual Barcelona Mobile event at the end of February, although by far the most eye-catching this year was the concentration on 5G, which appears to have dominated most stands and presentations. The Spanish teleco, Telefónica, which has a major reach in South America, and Microsoft Corp. announced a strategic partnership to collaborate on projects to accelerate Telefónica’s innovation and transform the telecommunications industry.
Building on Telefónica and Microsoft’s previous work together around the use of data and Telefónica’s Fourth Platform to power offerings such as Aura, it’s A.I-powered digital assistant, the new agreement will combine the power of Telefónica’s state-of-the-art networks, unique customer proposition and global reach with the Microsoft Azure A.I platform to design services telcos will offer in the future.
The two companies will also cooperate on the development of A.I and 5G. This follows closely on the heels of an agreement between Microsoft and Volkswagen. VW intends to expand the global footprint of its Automotive Cloud, which was developed mainly for the European market, to China and the USA.
Microsoft Azure has comprehensive cloud, edge, A.I and IoT capabilities which will form the basis of the growing digital ecosystem. VW will use its Automotive Cloud as the core of its vehicle and service data operations. The digital ecosystem is being developed by the VW brand together with partners as the lead brand within the Group.
Meanwhile, Huawei, while unveiling its plans for 5G in Barcelona came under an unwelcomed spotlight when the US government announced that it would not use Huawei products for fear that these could be used as a back-door for Chinese industrial and state spying. Huawei is appealing that decision.