In the same hours in which it made its Copilot Pro software available to everyone, Microsoft is once again making headlines in the field of artificial intelligence. And it does so in light of an important agreement with a company that mainly speaks Italian. Vodafone has in fact linked itself to Microsoft by investing 1.5 billion dollars for the next 10 years, precisely for the development of AI and digital.
Let’s find out in more detail the new and important Vodafone-Microsoft partnership.
The agreement between Vodafone and Microsoft
The news of the agreement between Vodafone and Microsoft appeared on the Redmond company’s website on Monday 15 January, and relaunched the following day by the multinational fixed and mobile telephony company.
The importance of the collaboration is announced right from the title of the note: “Vodafone and Microsoft sign a ten-year strategic partnership to bring generative artificial intelligence, digital services and the cloud to over 300 million companies and consumers.”
One of the main objectives of the agreement is to transform the customer experience of Vodafone customers through the use of Microsoft’s generative artificial intelligence, to enhance Vodafone’s Internet of Things platform, to develop new digital and financial services for companies, in particular for SMEs in Europe and Africa. And finally to accelerate Vodafone’s cloud transformation through a modernization of data centers through Microsoft Azure.
Margherita Della Valle and Satya Nadella
Vodafone will realize deal with Microsoft by investing $1.5 billion over the next ten years in customer-focused cloud and AI services, developed with Satya Nadella’s company. And Microsoft will use Vodafone’s fixed and mobile connectivity services.
Furthermore Microsoft will invest in the IoT connectivity platform operated by Vodafonewhich will be spun off and become autonomous starting in April 2024. The new company will attract partners and customers, driving application growth and expanding the platform to connect more devices, vehicles and machines.
Collaboration in five points
The collaboration between Vodafone and Microsoft is structured into five strategic areas.
The first is theGenerative AI. The companies will put Azure’s OpenAI at the service of Vodafone customers, including the TOBi digital assistant (available in Italy). And Vodafone employees will be able to use Copilot.
Then there is theInternet of Things (IoT): Microsoft will invest in Vodafone’s new global IoT-driven connectivity platform that connects 175 million devices and platforms worldwide. Vodafone will become part of the Azure ecosystem, making the IoT platform available to a wide range of developers and third parties.
We will aim forAfrica’s digital acceleration. Microsoft will help expand M-Pesa, Africa’s largest financial technology platform, by hosting it on Azure to enable it to launch new cloud-native applications. Additionally, the companies are launching a program that aims to improve the lives of 100 million consumers and 1 million SMEs across the African continent, including by improving digital literacy.
As for the business growthVodafone will increase its commitment to the deployment of Microsoft services, including Microsoft Azure, as part of its strategy to become Europe’s leading platform for businesses.
Finally the cloud transformation. Vodafone will replace some of its European data centers with virtual ones hosted by Microsoft Azure, improving its responsiveness to customer needs and reducing the operating costs of its IT estate.
Margherita Della Valle, CEO of Vodafone Group, expressed her opinion on the agreement between Vodafone and Microsoft.
Della Valle said: “Today Vodafone makes a bold commitment to the digital future of Europe and Africa. This unique strategic partnership with Microsoft will accelerate the digital transformation of our business customers, especially small and medium-sized businesses, and improve the quality of the customer experience for consumers.”
And Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, added: “This new generation of AI will open up new opportunities for every organization and every industry in the world.
We are pleased to apply the latest cloud and artificial intelligence technologies together with Vodafone to improve the customer experience of hundreds of millions of people and businesses in Africa and Europe, to build new products and services and to accelerate the group’s transition to the cloud”.