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Keynote Q&A: AT&T CEO on Joining Forces with IBM

A joint IBM Interconnect and IBM Amplify keynote this week in Las Vegas featured an interview with Randall Stevenson, Chairman and CEO of AT&T, about combining strengths with IBM. They lead a new category called TMT or Telco, Media, and Technology.

Ginni Rometty, Chairman and CEO of IBM, led the interview. Some of the highlights:

Question: Your industry and ours intersects. What is changing in this industry, and what you are doing?

Answer: The key thing is that we are now at a place where ubiquitous and high-speed mobile connectivity is in place. Combine that with cloud technology, and it makes this access more vital and critical. Now pushing cloud technology to the core of the AT&T network. We are virtualizing all this. The data and network cloud will be a seamless integration.

Question: Talk about how the industry is changing, especially media.

Answer: As you consume media, you do it on these mobile devices. The volumes are growing 40% month over month. Advertising and the nature of the content is changing. That’s why we are acquiring Time Warner. Think about HBO, CNN, Game of Thrones, WB studio. We want this curated, formatted, and developed for a mobile environment.

Question: IBM prepared the cloud for all this video.

Answer: We used to do this for enterprise customers. But now, we are scaling at massive cloud for the consumer first.

Question: Share with the audience what we are doing together.

Answer: We are doing so much. Take the Federal Government for instance. Security, Watson, etc. AT&T network to IBM cloud is as if it were a private cloud environment. We cross a wide range of areas. AT&T just announced yesterday their AT&T IoT powered by Watson.  We are throwing all this data for what purpose? Having an engine like Watson and how to organize and categorize this data

Question: This idea of future proof, the advantage comes from doing something with it. People have so far to go. Talk a little bit of how you see industries transforming

Answer: Think about shipping. They are using blockchain, sensors on containers, Mersk knows everything about those containers. Think about what Watson will do with that information.  Also, ATT will be working hard towards smart cities. Using sensors to understand traffic patterns.

Question: One of the big things in China is that we’ve been able to predict the particulates in a square kilometer…10 days in advance. This is the beginning of a very long road.

Answer: We have 30 million connections on IoT. Connected auto will be huge.

Question: How will the network itself change? How do you prep for volume?

Answer: We’ve gone from 2G to 3G, to LTE. Project Indigo is the “so what”. This is moving to the core of the network. We are virtualizing everything. The idea that you use dedicated hardware for call routing is over. We’ve developed an OS overlay that sits on top of this. Our biggest software project ever is this overlay. With this Watson becomes an application you just bring in.

Question: If you had to give one recommendation on why work with us, what would you say?

Answer: Let me paint a picture. You have devices, sensors, key security standards, etc. All this is complex. We provide a secure, scalable, net bonded from a sensor of device. This is just one picture.

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Michael Porter

Mike Porter leads the Strategic Advisors team for Perficient. He has more than 21 years of experience helping organizations with technology and digital transformation, specifically around solving business problems related to CRM and data.

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