IBM selected security start-up Exium to help customers run AI or IoT applications across hybrid cloud environments, laying the groundwork for 5G-enabled IoT and private networking.

The company will sell Exium’s services in tandem with its open source Edge Application Manager, with customers paying the start-up a monthly fee per device.

Industrial automation, healthcare and retail are the three vertical markets IBM and Exium are focusing on first.

Evaristus Mainsah, GM of IBM hybrid cloud and edge ecosystem, stated the collaboration will help clients deploy “thousands of endpoints throughout their operations”.

As IoT deployments convert to 5G, IBM and Exium will work to deploy compatible private networks in partnership with operators and enterprises with their own spectrum assets.

Exium was founded by wireless industry veteran Farooq Khan and offers a 5G core network system with built-in cybersecurity.

Khan told Mobile World Live he “started seeing global geopolitics and concerns about security”, and decided to start Exium to prioritise cybersecurity within 5G.

“We built not only a 5G core delivered from the cloud but also a full stack of cybersecurity”.

He explained Exium’s Intelligent Cybersecurity Mesh uses deep packet inspection to analyse network traffic and will work in any cloud environment. It employs zero-trust security to connect users, devices and edge applications, with the company also enabling next-generation network routing and quality of service to accommodate different edge applications.

Khan explained video analytics is the primary application customers in the industrial and retail segments will be using, while healthcare providers use edge compute resources to process images.

In most cases, ultra-reliable low latency communications apps are unavailable for now because of the lack 5G IoT devices. Khan said until these are available, most IoT endpoint customers will connect on Wi-Fi or Ethernet.

Khan noted 5G IoT chipsets introduced recently by Qualcomm could find their way into end-user devices in the not-too-distant future.