Building the Pervasive Network: The Road to an Innovation Renaissance
We are entering an innovation renaissance unlike any we have seen in our lifetime with the promise of a much smarter world by connecting machines, humans, sensors and entire environments.
As technology advances at exponential speeds -- and the number of connected devices, from clothing to appliances to cars to homes increases -- communications service providers (CSPs) can become digital businesses if they capture the power of the pervasive network. The goal of pervasive computing, which combines existing network technologies with wireless computing, voice recognition, Internet capability and artificial intelligence, is to create an environment where the connectivity of devices is embedded in such a way that the connectivity is unobtrusive and always available. (See Digital Network Transformation.)
The backdrop to this opportunity is that the equipment and carrier model of the past has evolved swiftly, along with the expectations of the digital consumer and digital enterprise as a whole. In addition to the classic problem of decreasing revenue and increasing costs, CSPs also face a completely new class of over-the-top competitors, boosted by the "softwarization" of the network, which changes customer operations as well.
To succeed in this new environment and generate significant new revenues, CSPs must make some tough choices and be prepared to reorient their businesses to create new digital experiences for customers and redefine their operations and underlying technology platforms. Despite making good progress, the communications industry continues to face challenges when trying to make the pervasive network a reality. Although the idea is that using the network is simple and ubiquitous, the truth is that it is a difficult task and there are many bumps in the road ahead yet.
Accenture believes that to survive and thrive in this new hyper-connected world, CSPs must break down the complexity of trying to make sense of everything at once and focus on three different areas.
A need for next-gen platforms and ecosystems
Reinforcing the new network models is the ability to execute and deliver with agility and reliability. To enable better collaboration and delivery, a DevOps and agile approach should also be put in place. This will ensure that a new culture is created that can be fostered where building, testing and releasing software can happen rapidly, frequently and fundamentally, and more reliably. This approach enables CSPs to rotate to the new, digital world while protecting and growing the core business to drive maximum revenues. Building overlay solutions that underpin this smooth migration path is one of the many solutions CSPs need to deploy to achieve a dual speed mode of operation and provide the critical balance between the core and the new.
CSPs need to develop new consumer-facing services
More importantly than ever before, CSPs today need to offer consumer-facing services around next generation enterprise, IoT integrations, 5G and within the connected home including services such as home security. This is in many ways, an entirely new business model and process for CSPs and while it is the prime opportunity for them to drive new revenues, it also creates new challenges and complexity. As a result, it is important that advanced analytics and collaboration tools and processes are put in place internally to help drive efficiencies through enriched and streamlined processes.
Create and manage real-time operations
By producing efficiencies like this, the focus can remain on the longer-term strategy of making the journey to become a platform-based, digital CSP, ensuring the strength of the business for the future.
As CSPs proceed along these three dimensions, understanding a big mind-set change is required for it to be successful, across these five areas:
In part two of this Q&A, the carrier's group head of network virtualization, SDN and NFV calls on vendors to move faster and lead the cloudification charge.
It's time to focus on cloudification instead, Fran Heeran, the group head of Network Virtualization, SDN and NFV at Vodafone, says.
5G must coexist with LTE, 3G and a host of technologies that will ride on top of it, says Arnaud Vamparys, Orange Network Labs' senior vice president for radio networks.
The OpenStack Foundation's Ildiko Vancsa suggests that 5G readiness means never abandoning telco applications and infrastructures once they're 'cloudy enough.'
IDC's John Delaney talks about how telecom CIOs are addressing the relationship between 5G, automation and virtualization, while cautioning that they might be forgetting the basics.
On-the-Air Thursdays Digital Audio
ARCHIVED | December 7, 2017, 12pm EST
Orange has been one of the leading proponents of SDN and NFV. In this Telco Transformation radio show, Orange's John Isch provides some perspective on his company's NFV/SDN journey.
Special Huawei Video
Huawei Network Transformation Seminar The adoption of virtualization technology and cloud architectures by telecom network operators is now well underway but there is still a long way to go before the transition to an era of Network Functions Cloudification (NFC) is complete.
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