There is a virtualisation revolution happening in networks, as communication services providers increasingly turn to automation to deliver ongoing cost savings. 5G is also just around the corner and will place increasing demands on networks.
As a result, there are a number of changes on the horizon. The first is the use of real-time network anomaly detection and outage prevention. Dynamic capacity and path allocations are also inevitable parts of network design, and many standardisation bodies are addressing this. The details are not yet resolved, but there is a clear consensus that without the use of advanced analytics, providers will not be able to deliver a set of virtual services over a hybrid network and would instead be flying blind.
Changes in connectivity
The communications market is changing in a number of ways. For example, according to the GSMA Intelligent Connectivity report from December 2018:
- By 2025, the Internet of Things (IoT) will include 25 billion connections.
- At Event Now, Mishka Dehghan, Vice President of 5G development at Sprint, said that there are already 400 different types of use cases involving dozens of technologies across all verticals.
- Video is expected to become 80 percent of network traffic. The number of virtual meetings with “better than office” experience will continue to grow.
- NHK plans to broadcast the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in 8K, and 8K video cameras are already commercially available.
- Self-driving cars with an “affordable personal driver” are expected to become reality once 5G is rolled out. These will generate 4TB of data every day.
- Fast drone delivery will also become reality after the commercial 5G rollout.
- The use of apps for holistic wellness and health care measured in real time will pick up dramatically in the next two to three years with the continuous connectivity provided by 5G.
- Stronger security and greater safety with smart cameras are already being rolled out today over 4G.
By making high-speed connectivity ubiquitous, highly responsive and versatile, 5G, AI and the IoT will transform the way we work, play and live our lives. Like it or not, we will all need to adapt in one way or another.
The full potential for telecommunications players can be realised only with enterprise-wide analytics supported by agile access to relevant data.
Facing up to change
For communications service providers, I think the choice is fairly stark:
- Stick to their existing network equipment providers and wait until they incorporate this functionality in their next generation of products. Avoid any multivendor network strategy because standards are slow to arrive.
- Go with their existing OSS/BSS suppliers, who have only recently started to build open source analytics capability into their software products. CSPs will have to hope that suppliers are able to pick up the technology fast enough, and at the right quality, to deliver the required functionality – and keep upgrading it as the technology matures.
- Experiment with open source technology on their own or with a Tier 1 systems integrator as a partner.
- Find a strategic partner with long-term experience in advanced analytics, including AI and machine learning. This can support a multivendor environment, including open source if needed. This partner will also need to have sufficient knowledge of the telecoms business to integrate AI and machine learning advanced analytics into the network to lay a foundation for the future.
Of course, there is another option. Executives could sit back and wait until Microsoft or some other global and innovative company starts to introduce over-the-top B2B services. This will mean watching their own B2B revenue decline as a result. This has already happened in B2C, and it could certainly happen again. Most revenue from 5G will come from the B2B market, so this would be a very poor choice to make.
We suggest you don’t wait, but act!