Ericsson Dynamic Orchestration, 5G and AI-powered self-healing networks
In his Transmissions from Tomorrow podcast episode, industry analyst Dez Blanchfield caught up with Fernanda Mendez, Head of Management and Orchestration at Ericsson and Head of CENX, a service assurance company that Ericsson acquired in 2018. They discuss real-life automation, self-healing networks and the evolved Ericsson Dynamic Orchestration solution (launched at MWC 2019) sharing why it has a crucial role in the future of 5G networks. No time to listen to the whole episode? Read on for a summary of their discussion.
It’s all about closed-loop automation and simplifying operations
With 5G knocking on the door, automation for networks is now critical for communications service providers (CSPs), claims Fernanda. Orchestration and network management should be top of mind. “Orchestration is a crucial stepping stone for network transformation and modernization. Our goal is to get our customers to that level of automation that’s needed to simplify their lives and their operations.”
Fernanda discusses Ericsson’s acquisition of CENX, which has allowed Ericsson to bring together service assurance and orchestration for closed-loop automation, which is what she describes as, “the holy grail of the whole network management industry” to help operators automate their networks and services through solutions such as Ericsson Dynamic Orchestration.
Dynamic Orchestration is a key part of tackling future 5G complexity
Ericsson Dynamic Orchestration started in 2017 with the aim of automating the instantiation and provisioning of network functions in virtual environments. Today, the solution simplifies operations and reduces time to market for customers around the globe. Fernanda goes on to say that the evolved solution supports 5G use cases with new functionality. End-to-end network slicing and closed-loop assurance for hybrid networks in multivendor environments are two examples.
“Here in 2019, we’ve added functions that will complete the portfolio and give us the differentiation we need in the market as part of closing the loop to automate the lifecycle management of services.”
Fernanda explains that the evolved Ericsson Dynamic Orchestration solution was defined through a close look at 5G use cases with the insight that the complexity was much higher than Ericsson first expected. It required Ericsson to accelerate the delivery of automation to CSPs, so that end-to-end 5G services could be delivered faster and more efficiently:
“The expectation now is 30–50 percent automation. What we’re looking at is a journey of automation to reduce OPEX by 50 percent in a three-year time frame.” To learn more, go to the Ericsson Dynamic Orchestration page or continue reading this post.
Expect to see CSPs adopting startup mindsets
Fernanda states that by increasing automation, Ericsson Dynamic Orchestration allows for new levels of agility that you’d expect to see from startups rather than from telcos, with many CSPs now being able to deploy services in hours rather than weeks or even months. “It allows customers to innovate, and to ‘fail fast and start again’—this cycle has always been very long and expensive. Now evolved Ericsson Dynamic Orchestration allows them to onboard, test, and validate services in a much faster way, while still monetizing and being innovative. We’re used to startups doing this, not telcos, so this is a game changer.”
The biggest challenge is often not the technology, but the people
If CSPs are to transform their networks, they must also help transform the people behind these networks, and that’s often more of a challenge, reports Fernanda: “The challenge is the people, the mindset, and the change in the organizational structure that has for a long time been long and slow. It now needs to change culture to take advantage of the technology.” This means helping operators move away from siloed ways of working and horizontalizing the functional aspects of the organization. Working with CSPs on this challenge is an important part of the whole transformation.
Self-healing, AI-powered networks can open up next-level business opportunities for CSPs
Dez brings up the subject of self-healing networks, whereby networks monitor themselves, automatically fix problems in real-time with AI/ML and, if needed, produce new solutions if other solutions don’t work. They also intelligently move traffic to where it needs to be, whether it’s across a university campus or on a mobile device in the countryside. The consequences of these kinds of networks are groundbreaking: “We realized that the moment you reach these levels of self-healing, zero-touch models, you have a team of people who suddenly don’t need to be focused on manually fixing things. They can move on to being creators of business, data scientists, or enablers of new models for revenue creation. That’s a whole different world and opens up whole new business models for service providers.”
Listen to the full podcast episode here!