Former IBM infrastructure services unit Kyndryl highlighted a growing opportunity in private 5G networks to boost its system integrator proposition alongside continued work on edge with so-called hyperscalers, a company executive told Mobile World Live.

Paul Savill, global practice leader for networking and edge computing, said Kyndryl’s addressable market for system integration dramatically increased after the separation from IBM, although it still faces competition from companies including Tech Mahindra and Accenture.

Kyndryl “immediately went out and started forming new alliances and relationships with the major cloud service providers”, after the separation from IBM.

“A lot of the companies that are developing some of these next generation services are really hungry for solid managed services providers.”

Kyndryl forged deals with companies including Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure and AWS, and a private 5G network deal with Nokia. AvidThink analyst Roy Chua believes such agreements leave the former IBM unit well placed to capture business in the enterprise segment.

The company works to integrate the cloud providers’ private wireless technologies with enterprises’ existing stacks. Currently it manages critical infrastructure for more than 4,500 global customers across verticals including security, digital workspace, cloud and network edge.

Private networks
Savill noted work in the private 5G sector requires various integration expertise, spanning “a local area network, integration with a wide area network, and integration with the cloud connectivity”.

“Carriers don’t really have much experience in doing all of this integration work that has to happen with enterprises.”

Its deal with Nokia means Kyndryl is seeing private wireless traction across industrial environments which are typically too large for Wi-Fi coverage.

Customers typically start with one use case for a private network deployment before branching out to additional use cases once the technology and economics are proven.

“You can do a simple, private wireless network that just provides service across a wide geographic area in a plant, but where you really start driving the big value is in helping with automation capabilities.”

“Dealing with the operational technology in an automobile factory is very different” than a chemical plant.