How software and AI are becoming the brain of telecom networks to reinforce digital businesses
5G is the common denominator behind digitalisation and automation, the connected world, and smart enterprises. While industries are transforming and automating at an unheralded pace, 5G service providers are being plunged into the role of agents for the success of those industries, and not without benefits – there are massive monetisation opportunities for service providers.
A digital economy worth almost a trillion dollars hinges on the capability of the underpinning networks to deliver. But to unlock the network’s full potential, telcos might want to take a leaf from the hyperscalers and their use of automation and intelligence technologies. And while billions are being spent on the development of IoT, Industry 4.0 and the connected world, far less is devoted to the automation and intelligent technologies that could enhance the quality and reliability of the telecom networks that will form the backbone of the new trillion-dollar economy.
The future role of telcos
Telecom networks need to offer advanced connectivity services that are on-demand and delivered in real-time with unprecedented availability and quality of service. The expected experience of the enterprise user is a swift response, and the expected behaviour of the enterprise user – similar to a hyperscaler company’s user – is the choice to churn between networks when services don’t perform. Enterprise users would expect that guaranteed SLAs for use-cases, such as connected vehicles, industrial processes and remote healthcare are always met. SLA guarantees are mostly integral to the enterprise’s business model, and to make the model work, telcos will need to work doubly hard.
While 5G networks promise a high level of response and service using network slicing, edge connectivity and private networks , they still lag in offering automation and intelligence, important for high agility and assure the promises are maintained over time. By introducing these, telco network efficiency would increase by an order of magnitude, reinforcing service provider business.
Are 5G networks equipped to assure the enterprise demand?
As billions of new devices are added and use cases from multiple industries boom, 5G networks are under huge pressure to manage the complexity, scale and speed of Industry 4.0 and smart enterprise services. 5G networks need to be fully autonomic to deal with this challenge. The term autonomic relates to an automated, intelligent, predictive, and experience-driven way of operating the network. This is missing today.
A higher level of intelligence is required to deal with the immense complexity, scale and diversity of devices and use-cases powered by the network, that goes beyond the precision required to run the network efficiently and effectively. The 5G network of today has become highly disaggregated (Open RAN, VRAN, CRAN, Edge, etc.) and the intelligence is now delegated to the edge and private access networks. Assuring services now requires a system that uses AI to deal with the diverse and distributed nature of 5G; to act as the nerve centre of the network and command its mission-critical and business-reinforcing operations. This will lead the modern 5G (and future connectivity technologies) to the reality of an autonomic telco network.
BRAIN (Business Reinforcement using Artificial Intelligence for Networks)*
The autonomic network will be realised only if AI is used to assure its agile operations and to produce intelligent analytics to ensure that business problems are immediately and accurately resolved.
Since service providers are quickly embracing a collaborative approach to co-innovating and co-creating services using AI for operations and analytics, this is the perfect time for them to collaborate with assurance vendors to enrich the service provider’s telco data lakes, which will guarantee a high degree of accuracy on the AI/ML models. This democratisation of access to network data through a BRAIN system will allow service providers to innovate faster.
BRAIN is not only about the use of AI to assure future networks intelligently and for their autonomic operations. It is a powerful concept to reinforce and realise business objectives, as billions of dollars are being spent on making Industry 4.0 a success. The components of BRAIN are intelligent software (service assurance), big data, AI, cloud and open API. The BRAIN is an enabler of several capabilities (including real-time orchestration, automation, and analytics) that enables service providers to ensure high performance and reliability for Industry 4.0 and private mobile networks.
The way forward
Having served tier-one telcos around the world for the past two decades, MYCOM OSI has embarked on an exciting new journey of building the BRAIN for public and private mobile networks through collaborative work across the industry. MYCOM OSI plays a key role in bringing the concept to the real world. Working with an ecosystem of hyperscalers, technology companies and system integrators, the BRAIN will enable the democratisation of the network data that is critical for the success of tomorrow’s autonomic telcos, private mobile networks, and smart enterprise networks.
*BRAIN (Business Reinforcement using Artificial Intelligence for Networks) is a MYCOM OSI concept.
To find out more, please visit www.mycom-osi.com
Mounir Ladki, President and CTO, MYCOM OSI