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GSMA and IBM Pair Up to Elevate Telco AI Skills

GSMA and IBM Pair Up to Elevate Telco AI Skills

The News: The GSMA and IBM unveiled a new collaboration to support the adoption and skills of generative AI in the telecom industry through the launch of GSMA Advance’s AI Training program and the GSMA Foundry Generative AI program. Read the full press release on the IBM website.

GSMA and IBM Pair Up to Elevate Telco AI Skills

Analyst Take: The GSMA and IBM unveiled a new collaboration to support the adoption and skills of AI in the telecom industry through the launch of GSMA Advance’s AI Training program and the GSMA Foundry Generative AI program. The AI training program, the first in a new series of courses by GSMA Advance, seeks to prepare telco decision makers for the AI-era and bridge skills gaps in the telecom industry, by equipping members with skills and knowledge to help leverage Gen AI technologies using watsonx, IBM’s AI and data platform with AI assistants.

The training program will span a wide range of topics, from fundamental AI principles to specialized Gen AI applications in telecoms. I examine how the GSMA Foundry Generative AI program, by providing GSMA members with access to IBM’s watsonx platform, can aid telecom decision makers in diligently exploring industry-specific use cases of Generative AI, including those serving the world’s least connected communities, as well as ensuring that risk management is foundational and critical to operationalizing AI.

To ensure a wide range of participants can benefit, GSMA Advance AI Training sessions will take place at IBM offices in five locations around the world in 2024, including Dubai, London, Mexico, New York and Seoul, and an online training program will be available in multiple languages. A digital version of the program will be available to help address both the business strategy and technological fundamentals of Generative AI. This program will leverage IBM watsonx to deliver hands-on training designed to equip architects and developers with in-depth practical Gen AI knowledge.

The GSMA Foundry Generative AI program will provide GSMA members with access to IBM’s watsonx. I find this approach a very good idea as this approach and platform is intended to help telecom industry players explore industry-specific use cases of Generative AI, enabling members to improve business outcomes, revenue growth and enhance customer experience. As part of the ongoing collaboration GSMA Foundry and IBM will drive a series of Gen AI industry programs and challenges to investigate the use of Generative AI in various functional areas of a telecom provider.

I find that through this initiative, the GSMA and IBM can aid operators directly, including those serving the world’s least connected communities, to benefit from AI technology, and develop new innovative and inclusive solutions to help connect those in society who are not yet online. In sum, the alliance can help move the needle in further closing the digital divide on a global basis.

For background, IBM’s latest AI Adoption Index found 40% of telecoms surveyed are exploring or experimenting with generative AI, and 45% have accelerated the rollout of AI. Research from GSMA Intelligence also shows that while 56% of operators surveyed are actively trialing generative AI solutions, at a rate higher than any other priority technology, adoption is less prevalent amongst mid-sized and smaller operators surveyed.

IBM watsonx: Comprehensive AI Governance Is Vital to Telco AI Success

From my perspective, IBM watsonx is solidly positioned to ensure that risk management is foundational and critical to operationalizing AI throughout the telecom sector. I believe that telcos will learn this either the hard way, through ignoring it, or the easier way, by embracing it. Through its diverse and well-developed AI portfolio, IBM is in a great position to help telcos, such as 5G service providers, navigate AI risk management.

Benefiting the alliance is that IBM’s approach to AI is full stack and watsonx.governance is a unique, differentiated element. watsonx includes comprehensive products for AI models and managing data, both of which face competing products. At this time, there are few if any competing products to watsonx.governance.

Takeaway: GSMA and IBM Ready GenAI for Telecom Sector

I believe the GSMA and IBM alliance can help advance the democratization of AI by propagating training and access to the watsonx platform throughout the telecom ecosystem. Now telecom industry specialists can investigate and explore industry-specific use cases of generative AI that can generate considerable opportunities for telecom operators in fulfilling the optimization of their operational and business objectives.

Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.

Other Insights from The Futurum Group:

5G Factor: Telco GenAI Blooming

Amdocs and NVIDIA Ready to Power Telco Generative AI Use Cases

IBM Pledges To Bring Free AI Training to 2 Million Workers by 2026

Author Information

Ron is an experienced, customer-focused research expert and analyst, with over 20 years of experience in the digital and IT transformation markets, working with businesses to drive consistent revenue and sales growth.

He is a recognized authority at tracking the evolution of and identifying the key disruptive trends within the service enablement ecosystem, including a wide range of topics across software and services, infrastructure, 5G communications, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), analytics, security, cloud computing, revenue management, and regulatory issues.

Prior to his work with The Futurum Group, Ron worked with GlobalData Technology creating syndicated and custom research across a wide variety of technical fields. His work with Current Analysis focused on the broadband and service provider infrastructure markets.

Ron holds a Master of Arts in Public Policy from University of Nevada — Las Vegas and a Bachelor of Arts in political science/government from William and Mary.

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