The industry initiative of autonomous networks
Article by Dong Sun, Chief Architect of Digital Transformation and AI, Huawei Technologies.
The main concerns and interests of the telecom industry today are to apply AI, and other cutting-edge technologies such as big data, cloud computing, edge computing and IoT, to address the challenges and opportunities around complexity, efficiency, experience and growth for upgrading the telecom market value. There are some ongoing industry efforts such as ETSI ENI/ZSM/NFV/MEC, TMF Open Digital Architecture, Digital maturity model and AI maturity model, and Open source Linux Foundation program ONAP which are addressing some related issues.
Now an industry initiative named as Autonomous Networks is being discussed by some industry pioneers in order to put together a blueprint of the network of the future. Participants include Huawei, China Mobile, Orange, BT, Telstra, Ericsson and others. The autonomous networks, inspired by the notion of autonomous vehicles defined by SAE, is a data & knowledge driven intelligent, simplified network for self-configurating, self-healing, self-optimizing and self-evolving telecom network infrastructure and zero wait, zero touch, zero trouble operations and services, as presented at FutureNet World by Dr. Haiping Che, SVP and Chief Digital Transformation Officer, Huawei. Autonomous Networks are critical as part of service providers digital transformation strategies, not only in terms of cost efficiencies but are needed so that they can take advantage of the $400bn of growth that 5G offers to those with the agility to serve the 5G enterprise.
The initiative will be bringing together the wider industry ecosystem to collaborate and agree a common industry understanding of autonomous networks, which includes a harmonized classification system and supporting definitions of 5 levels of autonomous networks.
There are numerous vertical industry business scenarios and use cases that need the autonomous networks and its advance abilities. The industry will take a solid and practical evolution starting with the operations efficiency and customer experience issues, for example operations efficiency, energy efficiency, performance and resource utilization, and service experience, and then moving towards the enablement of digital transformation through automated ICT infrastructure services and platforms.
This will be a long-term strategy and require significant effort to realize this ambitious vision, but it will also expect considerable benefits and ROI to the telecom industry, as well as all vertical industries, paving the road to an intelligent, digital world.