South Korean telecoms operator SK Telecom has inked a cooperation agreement with Microsoft to collaborate on cutting-edge technologies, including 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), and the cloud.
The two companies said they will combine their technological capabilities to promote internet of things (IoT) applications, particularly in the domain of smart factories.
In February 2019, SK Telecom and Microsoft had already partnered to launch Microsoft Azure with Metatron, SK Telecom’s self-developed big data solution. Both companies said they will work together to upgrade the service and implement joint marketing activities.
By putting together the capabilities of SK Telecom’s AI platform NUGU with Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant, the partners said they will offer new AI-powered products and services, including smart speakers and other solutions for the enterprise.
The Korean telco has launched its 5G network coverage in Korea in April 2019, revealing that it has built a total of 34,000 units of 5G base stations across the country, especially in data traffic-concentrated areas that include university districts, KTX, sports stadiums, expressways, subway lines, and beaches.
Shortly after the glitzy launch, it unveiled a move to build a 5G-powered digital hospital in Yonqin, the first of many initiatives to introduce 5G applications for various industries.
Microsoft, for its part, has been serious in the initiative since it announced in April 2018 a $5-billion investment in IoT.
A year later, the tech giant has acquired Express Logic, a San Diego-based developer of real-time operating systems (RTOS) and middleware products for embedded IoT applications.
At its recently concluded annual developer conference, Build, held this year in Seattle, Microsoft also unveiled a comprehensive plan to connect IoT devices to cloud via a new open modeling language, IoT Plug and Play.
“SK Telecom is pleased to join hands with Microsoft as collaboration with global leading companies like Microsoft is essential to gain leadership in the 5G market, where competition is already fierce,” said Park Jung-ho, President and CEO of SK Telecom, in a media statement after its partnership with Microsoft was announced.