Contributed by Mark Geere, Product Marketing, Teoco
I am lucky enough to own an old MGB sports car, and it has been sitting in my garage for the winter. As is typical with these older British cars, it wouldn’t start after a couple of months “rest.” But once I opened the bonnet and applied some simple manual human intelligence, fault finding, and diagnostics, with a little bit of coaxing it eventually started up. I thought of this as I was driving around the next day in my more modern Jaguar XF; I opened the bonnet on this car and realized I had no chance of even trying to understand what was going on in there. Even the Jaguar specialists at my local garage often comment that they must send some faults back to the franchise dealers, as they have the specialist tools, diagnostics, and processes to fix and mend a difficult issues.
I have seen the same march of time impact technology within the telecommunications sector. I previously worked for a software vendor as an engineer on mobile telecoms networks, where we helped design, manage, and assure the relatively simple physical-based networks of 2G/3G. I’ve seen these networks grow in complexity over the years. Through the 4G era of internet and video streaming capabilities to the 5G era of today, virtual/cloud-based networks are becoming a reality, along with new services and the added intricacies of network slicing and MEC capabilities.
Let’s face it. All this innovation is towards achieving the ultimate goal of CSPs to increase their bottom line for their shareholders. However, as part of this they need to ensure that their operational OPEX costs do not rise as fast as the complexity of their network. On the other side of the equation, CSPs have learnt, from painful history, that if they do not provide a dedicated focus on the consumer/Enterprise experience and service declines, it soon translates into a significant loss in revenue. At this point AI/ML and automation within operations become critical tools for balancing both sides of the equation, and it’s why CSPs are looking to AIOps for help.
To gain real benefits within operations, the CSP needs to intelligently automate many previously manual tasks and ensure their service assurance solution seamlessly integrates within their BSS and OSS architectures. As service automation becomes more of a reality (especially at the Enterprise level), Service Assurance solutions will need “talk” to the orchestration and fulfilment solutions with a far tighter, nearer to real-time integration, so that they can translate the intent-based requirements into measurable parameters. This will not always result in predictable outputs from specific inputs, but it will create intelligently-derived performance indicators that impact the intent of service level agreements.
At TEOCO, one of our key capabilities is our ability to integrate multi-technology and multi-vendor network equipment into a single independent view across an entire network. However, even though this remains a unique selling proposition, it is not enough. We recognize the impacts of the “march of time,” and over the years we have worked with industry bodies such as TM Forum, along with our customers, to constantly upgrade our HELIX Service Assurance solution to meet the new challenges of each era. As CSPs move towards zero-touch service operations, TEOCO has focused on providing two key aspects for Service Maintenance & Operations:
- Providing intelligence within our solution through the introduction of Machine Learning: This reduces the time required to locate faults, the ability to intelligently find the right metrics to manage SLAs, and to drastically reduce the number of alarms across multiple technologies and vendor equipment into those that matter.
- Seamlessly integrating into operators’ BSS/OSS architectures by being cloud-ready and the use of Open APIs.
AIOps is still immature within CSP operations. It envisions a high level of AI-assisted or AI-driven automation in IT and network operations. Though zero-touch is a radical leap, it is an essential part of CSPs’ drive towards operational automation. The introduction of intelligent, integrated service assurance is key to its success.
Mark is a panelist in the session: Applying AIOps for Zero Touch Automation through intelligent Service Assurance, at Futurenet World in May. Register today to join him.