Operations on the move at DTW 2019
Traditionally, OSS has been seen as lagging when it came to software innovations, playing catch-up after new technologies have well progressed on the adoption curve. That was far from the case at last week’s Digital Transformation World, where the talk was of ‘Intelligent Operations for a 5G World’. Also on the agenda: AI, automation, block-chain, cloud. Blue Planet’s Marie Fiala describes how OSS is now in lock-step with new software technology, driving network evolution and business outcomes.
The mobile industry has been talking about 5G for a number of years and the hype has been building, but in reality, the rollout is progressing relatively slowly. According to the GSMA, towards the end of 2018, only two countries had launched 5G networks with 16 more expected to do so this year. 5G handsets are just being released. It’s only now, in 2019, that the majority of global mobile connections will travel over 4G networks.
That gradual evolution is a good sign that communications service providers (CSP) are being driven by bottom-line results. It’s not feasible to rollout new technologies for technology’s sake – it’s essential to develop a strong business case to rationalize capital investment. As Peter Leukert, Global CIO of Deutsche Telekom, said during the opening keynote, “Nobody wants a 5G network, we want better lives.” Operations plays a vital role in ensuring that link between network infrastructure and the consumer experience – it is what enables CSPs to monetize their infrastructure investment by bringing new services to market.
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To help advance development of business cases across many segments of the industry, the proof-of-concept Catalysts at DTW demonstrated a variety of innovative technologies as applied to specific real-world problems. As expected, 5G featured prominently, specifically in the context of managing network slices to deliver differentiated service quality of experience. Without an automated means to orchestrate and assure network slices across the multiple domains which make up a 5G network, 5G technology will not be able to support the needed volume and variety of services, nor produce the required bottom-line results.
Without an automated means to orchestrate and assure network slices across the multiple domains which make up a 5G network, 5G technology will not be able to support the needed volume and variety of services, nor produce the required bottom-line results.
Some of my favorites? TMF catalyst “5G Profitable Lifecycle” demonstrated an integrated marketplace where a subscriber could select and purchase a drone, along with a 5G mobile subscription for a specific network slice, based on usage needs (e.g. higher bandwidth for security applications). The subscriber would also receive real-time performance metrics, enabling adjustments to the 5G subscription, such as an upgrade to higher priority slice.
“Blockchain-based Telecom Infrastructure Marketplace” showed how blockchain technology can be used to share KPIs between carriers in order to determine end-to-end SLAs for inter-carrier services. The advantage is the inherent security with blockchain for sensitive data. This technology could also be leveraged internally within operations systems for user management, in order to track who does what on the network. There was also “AI for IT & Network Operations (AIOps) - Phase II” which applied the latest AI methodologies to help ensure network reliability and quality services. This topic was present in a number of other catalysts, reflecting the high priority that CSPs are placing on automated network assurance.
5G intelligent operations deliver superior end-to-end experience
In keeping with the top DTW themes, the power of AI in combination with closed-loop automation was showcased at our own Blue Planet booth. Our recently launched Proactive Network Operations solution enables service providers to predict and prevent network outages, saving up to 38% in OpEx per year. To estimate the potential savings and operational impact for a specific network, we offer an OpEx savings calculator. That’s the type of proof-point that is needed to help accelerate technology adoption throughout CSP operations.
Inherently, OSS stands well poised to capitalize on software technology innovations, in comparison to network infrastructure. Given that operational systems are already disaggregated from hardware, it’s easier to architect them with best-in-class software components, deploy them in the cloud, and use open APIs. As such, OSS is now rightly taking its place as an enabler of new network technologies such as 5G. While 5G network infrastructure deployments tackle the physical challenges of spectrum, small cells, and devices, operations can prepare the business and operational framework that will realize its benefits – for the CSP and ultimately the consumer.