Find out what the partnerships mean for channel partners.

Kelly Teal, Contributing Editor

March 6, 2020

5 Min Read
Edge computing

Google Cloud has a series of new announcements that point to new sales opportunities for the indirect channel.

The deals – with AT&T, Vodafone, Italy’s Wind Tre and two back-office providers – likely will have a trickle-down effect for managed service providers, independent software vendors, VARs, agents and other partners.

In other words, the telco collaborations do not appear to yield immediate benefit to the indirect channel; right now, they focus on helping service providers themselves achieve digital transformation.

Down the road, however, Google Cloud and AT&T, in specific, will allow ISVs, developers, solution providers and similar entities to build platforms for their enterprise customers, much like creating apps for end users via Google Play. Channel Partners was still waiting for more insight from Google Cloud at the time of publication.

The thrust of the various deals comes down to this: monetizing 5G for business while bringing cloud capabilities to the network edge, where computing takes place at or near the source of the data. (Or, as The Verge so aptly assesses the “edge” buzzword, “It means the cloud is coming to you.”)

Thus, to that point, AT&T in particular will pair its network with Google Cloud’s expertise, relying on the new Anthos for Telecom platform. Anthos, as many channel partners know, hosts applications that can run on existing on-premise hardware and in the public cloud; enterprises then choose the optimal environment on a case-by-case basis.

With Anthos for Telecom and other Google Cloud tools, AT&T will bring its apps to the network edge. This will reduce data costs and latency, and increase security, Eyal Manor, vice president of engineering for Anthos and developer products and tools at Google Cloud, told SiliconANGLE.


Google’s Eyal Manor

“The goal is to push the latest, most modern application development tools to run anywhere,” Manor said. “There’s a lot of rigid legacy infrastructure at the edge, and that slows down innovation.”

Combining cloud computing with 5G should eradicate those rigidities and “help enterprises address real business challenges,” Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian said in a March 5 blog.

But first, the telecom providers themselves must embrace digital transformation; hence, Google Cloud’s newly announced partnerships and the new service it is calling the “Global Mobile Edge Cloud.” GMEC will feature a portfolio and marketplace of 5G solutions built with telcos; an open cloud platform for developing the applications; and a global distributed edge for deploying said solutions.

So far, Google Cloud and AT&T are testing all this in three key verticals: retail, manufacturing and transportation. As they refine the process and results, it’s easy to see how partners will pick up the work, crafting apps and services on behalf of their enterprise customers.

“Combining 5G with Google Cloud’s edge compute technologies can unlock the cloud’s true potential,” Mo Katibeh, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at AT&T Business, said. “This work is bringing us closer to a reality where cloud and edge technologies give businesses the tools to create a whole new world of experiences for their customers.”

Consider, too, that Google Cloud is helping telcos focus on data and analytics through artificial intelligence and machine learning.

“Not only are we able to gain analytics capabilities across … products and services, but also we arrive at …

… insights faster, which can then be used to offer more personalized product offerings to customers and to raise the bar on service,” Simon Harris, group head of big data delivery at Vodafone, said.

Robert Visser, chief information officer at Wind Tre, a fixed and mobile operator in Italy, agreed.

“We’re leveraging Google Cloud’s data analytics capabilities to deliver customized marketing campaigns, real-time personalization and talent acquisition for our customers,” he said.

Partners should be able to jump on this bandwagon, even if in a roundabout way.

Meantime, Google Cloud also is teaming with back-office vendors Amdocs and Netcracker, both of whom work with MSPs, ISVs and similar partner types. Amdocs and Netcracker will combine their products with Google Cloud to help telcos undergo digital transformation and offer new services, generating additional revenue sources.

“We can accelerate this journey,” said Gary Miles, chief marketing officer at Amdocs.

On a similar note, Netcracker is putting its whole digital and orchestration stack on Google Cloud, which means service providers may buy IT applications on demand.

Those announcements lie somewhat beyond the scope of most channel partners’ focus; however, knowing the capabilities telcos will take advantage of through the back-office alliances could prove useful.

“What matters in today’s digital economy is speed of execution,” as Enterprise Strategy Group’s Scott Sinclair noted in a Feb. 21 blog about the so-called network edge. “How quickly new digital services can be up and running directly influences project costs, the risk of overruns and overall success of nearly any new project.”

Edge computing seeks to address those issues, and channel partners and their clients will reap the rewards.

Finally, in a notable nod to the whole “edge” conversation, Google Cloud said this week it has added four more data center regions. Look for Delhi, Doha, Melbourne and Toronto to launch soon.

The news comes on top of recent disclosures that Google Cloud is opening regions in Jakarta, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Seoul and Warsaw. The company says each region will have three zones to protect against service disruptions, come with GCP products and offer lower latency to nearby users — a critical component for edge computing.

Read more about:


About the Author(s)

Kelly Teal

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Kelly Teal has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist, editor and analyst, with longtime expertise in the indirect channel. She worked on the Channel Partners magazine staff for 11 years. Kelly now is principal of Kreativ Energy LLC.

Free Newsletters for the Channel
Register for Your Free Newsletter Now

You May Also Like