Realising the 5G promise: a journey towards zero-touch operations
The journey towards zero-touch operations
May 5, 20214 min read

Realising the 5G promise: a journey towards zero-touch operations

A glimpse of Celfocus’s presentation at FutureNet World 2021.

On the first day of FutureNet World 2021, Carla Penedo, Cognitive Automation Offer Lead at Celfocus, reinforced the need for AI-driven predictive operations to enable zero-touch automation.

Virtually gathering over 800 attendees, the agenda was composed of 60 executive speakers to discuss and debate the role that automation and AI play in future network plans and commercial strategies. Before diving into Celfocus’s presentation, an overall conclusion of the event.

Our take on the event

The 5G promise is quickly arriving and CSPs around the world are currently searching for solutions that embody flexibility, speed, agility and innovation. Their main goal is to become smarter in the way they meet their customers’ needs.

As a speaker declared, even in an automated paradigm, it’s important to be even closer to the customer. “(…) 5G is all about partnering and being a hundred percent in line with the customer’s view. Maybe we should try to use the word frictionless technology (…)” he argued.

Collaboration is another aspect that was tackled by many speakers. “There is an ecosystem with multiple layers and we need to participate in any kind of layer”. “That’s what’s changing the model (…) it’s becoming more of a collaborative effort between us and our clients versus before”. As we are all in an ecosystem, CSPs must work with vendors as partners.

Changing the way an organisation operates requires a learning path to adapt to the new realities. Whereas to embrace automation or another disruptive technology, people need to be at the heart of the transformation. One speaker believes that “It’s not really about waiting for a certain technology to come and make it happen, it’s about understanding and getting on that learning curve as soon as possible (…) I would summarise it’s about people (…) processes and learning before technology”.

The journey towards zero-touch operations

Carla Penedo delivered the presentation “Realising the 5G promise: a journey towards zero-touch operations”. She approached the importance of predictive technologies in achieving zero-touch automation, and the key role of 5G in doing so.

In the hyper-connected world that we live in, 5G promises to impact in several manners, including:

  • Creating a highly intelligent and flexible network that can dynamically adapt to the demands of both the customer and the operator;
  • Enabling smart networks by using predictive techniques to avoid congestion; optimise service levels and support dynamic network slicing;
  • Potentiating smart energy management by leveraging predictive techniques to optimise energy consumption;
  • Making predictive maintenance a common practice, tracking performance over time to anticipate failures and prevent them from happening.

“And this will change the way we relate to machines, consume media and even the way we communicate with each other”, stated Carla Penedo. “It’s the promise of ultra-high-speed, low latency, high throughput, wider coverage, and greater reliability (…) enabling new use cases at scale: enhanced mobile broadband, massive IoT, and mission-critical. But all of these use cases also come with challenges and opportunities”. Are CSPs ready to capitalise upon this opportunity and successfully managed the challenges of 5G? The answer given by Penedo is that “(…) to be ready, CSPs need AI-driven predictive operations enabling zero-touch automation”.

Over the last 5 years, Celfocus has extensively supported CSPs to drive the path towards zero-touch automation. Learn, by viewing the presentation below, how Celfocus is paving the way for 5G, through the selection of three use cases: enhancing the power of predictive operations for smart networks, smart energy management and predictive maintenance.

See the full presentation here.

In a nutshell, “Celfocus believes that predictive operations enabling zero-touch is the right strategy to deliver the required innovation for 5G. Smart networks, smart energy management and predictive maintenance are top priorities for tomorrow’s networks. (…) For us, it’s not just about having accurate predictions, but also providing these insights within an actionable timeframe. This is because predictive operations is a relevant part of the journey that must be complemented to achieve maximum benefit. And predictive techniques together with automation, making the insights actionable, is a perfect match”, Carla Penedo argued at the end of her presentation.  

In the end, Mark Newman, Chief Analyst at TM Forum, asked Carla – “In practice, how far are we from reaching that goal of zero-touch operations – is it tangible?”

“Zero-touch automation is a target, it’s the end game – but it cannot be achieved right away. It isn’t something that CSPs decide to embrace and achieve in a couple of months. The reality is too complex to allow that. The network is becoming more complex, CSPs systems must be ready for automation (which is not the case most of the time). Let’s not forget that it represents a huge transformation and cultural shift, so the human factor is also a big challenge. And for all of that, zero-touch operations is a path, a journey to follow to overcome these challenges (…)”, Carla answered.

Celfocus’s Cognitive Automation solution was shortlisted for the Automation Solution Award in the “Leading solution for Network Automation/Autonomous Networks” category. Learn more about this project here and the solution here.