FutureNet World 2020: Network automation and AI are core to the industry’s growth in a 5G era

FutureNet World returns for the 2nd edition in London on March 24-25th. The event brings together a global audience of senior telco executives, says Giles Cummings, founder & CEO of FutureNet World, to discuss the strategicand commercial considerations and decisions that CSPs are making today and the implications for the network.

‘Network Automation and AI’ is the umbrella topic of the event, a key foundational pillar for the next wave of growth in the telecoms market. Major themes include cost optimisation and operational efficiency; creating new growth opportunities anchored on intelligent networks and artificial intelligence (AI); and establishing cloud-native, federated platforms for a plethora of telco services.

Radical re-think

Matt Beal

As operators are embarking upon their digital transformation, they need to radically re-think their network, from their design to the different technologies that they can deploy. Networks need to be dynamic, intelligent and flexible to deal with the increasing demand placed on them.

It is predicted that by deploying AI on the network and for service management, service providers could cumulatively save US$27 billion (€24.28 billion) over the coming decade and increase operating profit by $46 billion (€41.36 billion) through savings in customer acquisition costs and lost revenue through better network performance.

The two overarching questions of the event are: How can the industry reduce overall cost structure from an operations standpoint? And, what new opportunities are there for telcos by deploying intelligent networks?

Virtualisation, edge computing, 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) will create complexity that cannot be managed without a high degree of automation. Zero-touch automation, therefore, remains the end goal for far-reaching operational efficiency.

Kirsty Bright

Vodafone are official host operator at FutureNet World and Scott Petty, UK CTO, Matt Beal, Group technology director, Kirsty Bright, head of technology strategy and others from across the group will share insight into Vodafone’s journey to autonomous networks and the role that AI plays in their plans.

Commercial opportunities

Other Keynote speakers include CxOs from BT, Swisscom, TELUS, DT, Telefonica, Airtel, T-Mobile, Orange, Telenor and many others who will discuss how they are evolving their networks, adopting new technologies and ensuring they are ready for the 5G, data-driven world, and the next wave of commercial opportunities.

The growth imperative is expected to be driven by the intersection of edge computing, 5G and AI but this is a significant industry shift that will not materialise overnight. Consistency in strategy execution, creating the right culture and environment to integrate AI into telco DNA, and acquiring the human capital that embraces these new technologies are three strands that will be discussed and debated at FutureNet World.

Scott Petty

The consensus of opinion coming out of FutureNet World 2019 was that federated access calls for alliances, partnerships and an ecosystem that extends the utility of IT-designed solutions to the telecom domain. These alliances are yet to materialise, but the next stage of telco profitability will likely depend on these.

FutureNet World 2020 will drive this agenda and provide a platform to facilitate these partnerships. There is a great deal more to achieve, particularly if the industry aims to emulate cloud and web-scale companies in scale, reach and agility.

This may require a degree of sophistication on the technology, organisational and cultural fronts. Progression on those fronts should shed the slow and time-consuming standardisation approach typical of telecoms. This is an ongoing discussion in the industry and will be a key theme at FutureNet World 2020.

The author is Giles Cummings, founder & CEO, FutureNet World.


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