Separately, Telefónica Tech has teamed up with IBM to offer AI- and blockchain-driven solutions to public and private enterprises.
The pandemic highlighted what has long been known – SMEs are the powerhouse of European economies yet are underserved by telcos. In many countries they represent 99% of the “business fabric” and generate 70% of employment,
Previous attempts to address the sector have struggled to scale because the market is fragemented. Their crucial role in economic recovery and their need to transform digitally became clear during lockdowns.
To this end, Telefónica offers solutions adapted to SMEs, regarding price, features, implementation and installation times, the operator claims.
Alexis Hostos, Head of New Segments & Markets, Cybersecurity & Cloud, explains: "It is proven that SMEs that go digital produce more, have more revenue, are more profitable, and expand into new markets much faster. This transformation is not an option, the gap between digitised and non-digitised SMEs continues to grow".
The intention is that they can benefit from the same technology that large companies have, also bringing them the most disruptive technologies, such as Big Data, IoT, blockchain or cloud, at affordable cost, and in a scalable way.
The customised solutions for SMEs include workstation management to resolve queries and breakdowns 365 days a year. Another is Security Operations Centre for SMEs, made up of cybersecurity experts to help SMEs protect their businesses from the most complex digital attacks, including a dedicated support centre exclusively for SMEs.
It will also offer Online Presence solutions to improve the customer experience SMEs provide and open new markets.
With Big Data and IoT, Telefónica is to provide what it calls its most advanced services with the latest technology for SMEs to exploit their data and improve decision-making, as well as automating their processes to make the most of their resources and meet the demands of their customers and audiences.
Blockchain and AI for larger organisations
Separately, Telefónica Tech and IBM are launching new hybrid cloud products that will use blockchain and AI technology to help enterprises’ digital transformation.
The two have been working on blockchain solutions since November 2018.
Among these products is an offer leverages the IBM Blockchain Platform so that firms can monitor their assets across the supply chain. “The solution provides end-to-end supply chain visibility and securely enables traceability of any type of material with an open standard,” the press statement said.
They have also launched an AI-based virtual assistant based on IBM Watson Assistant, implemented on Telefónica Tech’s Cloud Garden, a hybrid cloud platform that operates on Red Hat OpenShift. The idea is to help governmental departments and corporations provide easier to engage with customers and offer simpler customer service.
"These agreements reinforce our strategy of being the best partners for companies to face digital transformation with guarantees, complementing solutions based on our own technology with the best services from our partners," said Gonzalo Martín-Villa, CEO of IoT & Big Data at Telefonica Tech.
“In the same way that we electrified factories and machines in the past century, we will use hybrid cloud to infuse AI into software and systems in the 21st century. And one thing is certain: This is a future that must be built on a foundation of deep industry collaboration,” IBM Chair and CEO Arvind Krishna said in the announcement.