Verizon (VZ -1.10%) and IBM (IBM -1.95%) announced on Wednesday an extensive new partnership that would focus on a host of forward-looking technology, including 5G, edge computing, and artificial intelligence (AI).

The companies plan to use Verizon's high-speed, low-latency wireless 5G network, multi-access edge computing (MEC) capabilities, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices and sensors, and combine them with IBM's expertise in AI, hybrid multicloud, edge computing, asset management, and connected operations.

A drawing of a circle labeled Edge Computing with several connected devices linked to it

Image source: Getty Images.

By joining forces and leveraging each business's unique expertise, Verizon and IBM will initially offer mobile asset tracking and management solutions designed to help enterprises "improve operations, optimize production quality, and help clients enhance worker safety."

IBM and Verizon will also work to develop combined solutions for 5G and edge computing such as near-real-time cognitive automation for industrial applications. The combined solutions could help clients "detect, locate, diagnose and respond to system anomalies, monitor asset health and help predict failures in near real-time." 

Many computation-intensive tasks happen at a data center, which can be thousands of miles from where the information is generated. Edge computing takes the processing of data from the cloud and moves it closer to the source, or the "edge."

The companies plan to use Verizon's lightning-fast 5G network to increase the number of IoT devices that can be used in a particular geographic area. This will give organizations the ability to interact with those devices in near real time by bringing the necessary computing power within close proximity of the devices.

Verizon and IBM hope to develop "innovative new applications" that could include remote control robotics, near-real-time cognitive video analysis, and industrial plant automation.