Mobile network operator Vodafone and tech giant IBM have announced a new partnership that should help businesses improve their cloud service by offering a new way to link different systems together and take advantage of emerging technology, such as 5G and advanced machine learning.

According to Reuters, the two firms describe the project as a way to combine cloud computing and connectivity in order to deliver better services to users wherever they are.

So for example, it could allow manufacturing firms to enable real-time communication between robots on a factory floor without the need for a large, fixed connection going back to a data centre.

At the heart of the scheme is technology that will allow multiple disparate clouds to communicate and work together. The firms noted that 70 per cent of organisations use up to 15 different cloud systems throughout their business. Therefore, the new services should make it easier for companies to innovate without having to redesign their networks from the ground up.

Greg Hyttenrauch of Vodafone, one of the co-leaders of the project, told Reuters: "Businesses are beginning to embrace digital … as they do that they get a lot of complexity. We predicated this venture on the ability to simplify that complexity."

The venture is expected to go live in the second half of 2019 and will focus on large businesses in sectors such as retail, manufacturing, utilities, agriculture and transportation.

Under the terms of the deal, Vodafone will pay $550 million (£426 million) to IBM as part of an eight-year managed-services agreement that will offer tools such as artificial intelligence (AI) and automation to networked businesses.

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