IBM Think Digital 2020: Arvind Krishna focuses on AI, hybrid cloud, cloud satellite, 5G and edge

With 5G and edge computing, businesses can bring competition and data storage closer to where data is created. There are insights generated from the data

Pradeep Chakraborty
New Update
Arvind Krishna, IBM

The IBM Think 2020 digital event commenced today. Delivering the keynote, Arvind Krishna, CEO, IBM, said that there are the imperatives of history, choice, physics and law. Let's look at them one by one.


First, the imperative of history: you start from scratch. You have complex workloads and apps. Next comes choice. Hybrid cloud is about where you are at, in terms of the IT infrastructure choices that you have made, and the various places where you will do computing: whether on the public cloud, the private cloud or the premise.

The second imperative is of choice: being locked into one single cloud. It means that you are locked into only one company's innovation. Hybrid cloud gives you the choice and the freedom to hold your own software bonding.

The third imperative is of physics. You can't run a factory that needs a 50-minute response time through the cloud. In many cases, your IT systems need to be physically close to the data and services. The final imperative is of law: where you are in the world, physically? Which legal framework do you need to comply with? Is it GDPR? Or, the California Consumer Privacy Act in the USA. Data sovereignty is really of utmost importance.


Hybrid cloud and Covid-19

He said that hybrid cloud is here to stay. People need to capitalize on the massive opportunity! We have joined hands with Red Hat. We are allowing you to build mission-critical apps and run them anywhere. Hybrid cloud and AI have accelerated. What has changed is the pace at which they are being adopted?

Businesses are questioning and transforming their operating models. This has immediate and long-term consequences. They are thinking how to re-assess and re-imagine technologies to increase consumption and productivity. They are looking for long-lasting answers as to what they can do with technology to address the key issues that Covid-19 has brought to light.

How can supply chains become more resilient to absorb global shocks? When can I move to the public cloud? What IT tasks should I automate? How can I secure my IT infrastructure to do remote working? How can I use AI to manage the massive increase in calls? Covid-19 has taught us the critical importance of technology solutions. Choosing what any technology can do to enhance your business is the most consequential decision.


Technology platforms are the basis for competitive advantages. They determine how quickly you can pivot, and how well you can serve your clients, and even how much and how fast you can scale and respond to a crisis that we are facing today.

Anthem's viewpoint

CLS Systems is an example. CLS is global financial infrastructure. We were with them, in Covid-19, and helped them withstand a massive surge in demand.  Anthem is among the largest healthcare providers in the USA. Their long-term goal is to transform to being a digital healthcare provider. He welcomed Rajiv Ronanki, senior VP and chief digital officer, Anthem.

Ronanki said that in healthcare, we have taken a platform-centric approach. We are building interoperability into our apps and data.  Applications are easy to build, but difficult to secure. We need to be careful of the foundation that they are based on. We start with the data foundation. We are bringing so much that we are doing to life. We are developing ecosystems, such as AI, analytics, etc.


Krishna said there are lot of options out there. Why IBM? Ronanki added that Covid-19 has highlighted many facts. We have done a good job with AI supply and data soft chain. IBM's architecture has enabled us to manage. We can integrate lots of partners cohesively. When we look at the AI supply chains, it also enables us to manage our AI supply chains. To bring all third-party end-to-end solutions, we need IBM to provide us capabilities. We are talking about digital transformation. Solving the data problem is critical. Being secure is very important. Integrating the diverse supply chain of data and AI capabilities is key.

Anthem is setting an example for the the industry to follow. Krishna noted that the commitment to our clients is to meet the unique needs of your industry. You need to see how you can transform to deliver value to your customers. We are bringing an entrepreneurial culture to work together. We will move faster, and are supporting your journey to hybrid cloud and AI.

AI for IT

IBM is also making a series of announcements. We are releasing the AI for IT. It gives the CIOs the chance to automate the IT infrastructure, to become more resilient, and reduce costs. A key part of this is the Watson AIOps. It helps the organizations to diagnose and rectify IT anomalies in real time.


There are several unforeseen IT incidents that cost organizations $265,000 dollars in their annual business. We are trying to prevent all this. Watson AIOps tackles this challenge. Watson AI has built on the latest release of the Red Hat OpenShift container platform. AI can truly play a critical role today.

Another invited speaker, Aaron Levie, CEO, Box, said that when you think of the hybrid cloud, there are several apps. You are using Box, Slack, etc. We need to make sense of all the data. AIOps is a perfect answer.

Every company an AI company in future!

Arvind Krishna predicted that every company will become an AI company in the future! They must!! AI is the only way to scale innovation inside an expertise!


Let us next move to the cloud. IBM made two announcements. First, it launched the financial services business cloud. Think of all the problems banks have to tackle as they move to the cloud. Security, governance, compliance, data protection, and so on! There are external forces as well.

IBM launched the financial services ready cloud, a program with ISVs and SaaS providers, to meet the stringent requirements of their clients.  We are so excited at the number of services they can bring to their clients.

IBM Cloud Satellite

IBM is also also unveiling the tech preview of the IBM Cloud Satellite. Its delivered as a service, on premise, and at the edge. IBM Cloud Satellite will run workloads where it makes the most sense. Coming later this year, the IBM Cloud Satellite gives you the ability to use IBM Cloud services anywhere — on IBM Cloud, on premises or at the edge — delivered as-a-service from a single pane of glass controlled through the public cloud. It is exquisitely developed with open source Kubernetes. Clients can access a lot of rich services. You can get service visibility and single-access dashboard.


5G and edge

There were 5G and edge computing announcements as well. With 5G and edge computing, businesses can bring competition and data storage closer to where data is created. There are insights generated from the data. Computing is done in so many places, on public and private, as well as hybrid clouds. The challenge is to bring the business on a cohesive platform. Businesses can get rapid delivery of these features and services. They also need to apply the increased levels of automation to make it efficient, scalable and secure. The world is becoming software defined!

To help businesses and telcos deal with these challenges, IBM is announcing new services and capabilities. The new edge in telco networks are built using Red Hat.  The 5G and edge computing generation is coming quickly. You need to make wise architectural choices now. We believe that the winners in 5G and edge will be those who can embrace a hybrid cloud approach, based on open technologies and standards.

AI, cloud and 5G will be used by all of you to transform your businesses. To these, we can also add blockchain and quantum computing. They will all have a critical role to play in the digital platform of the future.

The future depends on the people. We will continue to follow the industry standard. IBM has prioritized stakeholders. We will have a call for code, to prepare for disaster preparedness. We created 700 tracks for this. Go to, and lend us your expertise. The 2020 Call for Code global challenge is taking on climate change and Covid-19. This will be open through July 2020.

IBM continues to be an important player. To our clients, we will navigate this period of an unprecedented crisis together. We should do this together, in a consistent manner. This conference has been designed to enhance your competitive advantage and growth. We will emerge from these challenging times, stronger.