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News in Brief

Contributing Editor Annie Turner rounds up the latest automation highlights.

Andrea Dona, Chief Network Officer, Vodafone UK

Blue Planet (a division of Ciena) is to supply Vodafone with its Transport Domain Orchestrator (TDO). Andrea Dona, Chief Network Officer, Vodafone UK, explained, “The Redstream Evolution [network virtualisation] project is a critical element of our long-term strategy to offer simplified connectivity services…By integrating the Blue Planet TDO, we will be able to provide new services to customers or scale-up capacity at the click of a button.

“We will also be able to introduce new flexible pricing models. With a platform layer on top of the network, new ideas do not have to be built from the foundations of the network up, potentially opening the door for new innovators and collaborators.

He added, “The big picture strategy is to make connectivity more accessible to more people, but this vision does not work without a network that is flexible, adaptable and standardised, as well as edge-based and SDN-enabled.”

Swisscom chose Nokia as sole supplier to provide its optical transport network. The national network will be based on wave division multiplexing and optical tech networking  This involves Nokia WaveFabric, based on the PSE-V digital signal processor, the WaveSuite portfolio including WavePrime Digital Twin as a Service. It will support speeds of 1G to 400G.  Swisscom expects to benefit from reduced OpEx optimised CapEx through simplified and streamlined end-to-end service operations, which make more efficient use of network resources through automation.

Amdocs and Microsoft extended their collaboration to support operators’ migration to the cloud. Shuky Sheffer, President and CEO at Amdocs, commented, “With Amdocs and Microsoft, service providers will be able to transform with cloud-native solutions and cloud services and deploy 5G networks in the cloud with Azure for Operators, automated by the Amdocs NEO service and network automation suite and monetised by Amdocs Charging.” Amdocs has become a Microsoft preferred Industry Priority Scenario (IPS) Partner.

Deutsche Telekom said it has transformed into a cloud-based service provider, having activated the Access 4.0 (A4) platform in December. The platform was developed in collaboration with Reply. The Access 4.0 platform takes over many OSS functions through software-defined networking which leverages disaggregation and automation: the best hardware and software components are automatically selected for any task. Now Reply intends to support Deutsche Telekom in developing a global productisation strategy for the A4 platform, working with other operators to understand their needs and engaging with the open source community.

Telefónica Tech, Telefónica’s digital business unit, signed a collaboration agreement with Microsoft regarding Azure Private Edge Zone. They have agreed to integrate Telefónica’s private 5G connectivity and Microsoft’s edge computing capabilities at customers’ premises to speed digital transformation and enable the automation and control of customers’ industrial processes. The partners say their joint vision is to help companies adopt new business processes of the smart factory variety and claim their offer will expand the ecosystem of available solutions plus create a reference model in the industrial market.

Telefónica is to sell two data centres in Spain and two in Chile to investment firm Asterion Industrial Partners. In return it will take a 20% stake in Nabiax, the colocation and housing services business owned by Asterion, to which Telefónica sold 11 data centres two years ago. The companies said, “Nabiax and Telefónica will continue developing their existing commercial cooperation and will explore new joint business opportunities, such as new services, edge computing and data centre automation”.

Qualcomm Technologies launched the 315 5G IoT Modem which supports global 5G NR sub-6GHz bands and operates in stand-alone (SA) mode for 5G IIoT, including automation. The modem was designed with industrial and enterprise applications in mind, from retail to energy, manufacturing, precision agricultural, construction, mining, public venues, and more. The modem can switch to LTE as needed and run over private or public 5G networks, leveraging network slicing or in isolation.

ABI Research found that Microsoft Azure and AWS are leading the battle at the core of IoT deployments and enjoying the lion’s share of cloud dominance. Securing the device identity supply chain is a strong focus for companies like Intel, Device Authority, and Pelion, and secure hardware module manufacturers like Thales and Telit boast high levels of secure onboarding and lifecycle management.

Nevertheless, “Understanding the intricacies of the market is key,” said Dimitrios Pavlakis, Senior Analyst of IoT and Digital Security at ABI Research. “Cloud device management alone is not enough to guarantee victory; the importance of critical partnerships is as relevant as ever…Intelligent solutions and automation are required for a sustainable lifecycle management environment, and even criteria like dev-tools and resource modularity can greatly add to the popularity of certain solutions and shape future IoT-borne revenue streams.”