Sam Willoughby, Director, Professional Service, APAC, ARRIS

Digitisation will be a key weapon for incumbents in the battle against OTT

TRENDING – Content is King has been the battle cry of service providers as they compete for eyeballs against over-the-top (OTT) disrupters. The results speak for themselves, however, as OTT providers continue to take revenue away from the service providers, using the very same access infrastructure the incumbents own and operate. They must be doing something right. Being a product of the digital age, OTT has the advantage of being fully digital, and born in the cloud.

The telecom industry is beginning to embrace these new technologies, with global powerhouses such as Orange and AT&T committing to a digital business transformation initiative, largely powered by open source platforms such as ONAP (Open Network Automation Platform).

Within the Asia-Pacific region, MyRepublic is deploying the TMForum Zero Touch Provisioning framework for its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network, and Telstra has its NE2020 initiative to simplify product offerings and focus on customer experience. But will these digital transformation principles work with communications service providers and video networks?

ARRIS recently helped a tier-one operator in the region with digital transformation automate an order-to-activate process for its enterprise media contribution networks. The goal was to fully automate the provisioning of an itinerant network link service, removing all human intervention.

First, the operator’s media network assets were abstracted into a model using ONAP’s Active and Available Inventory component. Once completed, custom microservices were developed that interface to Schedule­All, download the customer service booking data, design a service that would meet the customers’ requirements, and provision it in the production network.

The solution was tested successfully and now operates in production, where it delivers operational benefits by removing the swivel chair human interaction in the provisioning process, and dramatically reducing service provisioning times. While the success of this use case is providing the operator with ongoing benefits, the real win here is that it proves that video-specific networks, with their specialised requirements and equipment, can be abstracted for use in automation platforms.

Now, the operator has a network inventory model built that it can leverage to automate further business use cases, which will continue to improve the customer experience and have a positive impact on both capital and operational expenditures.

This really is the key. Once parts of the business have been abstracted into a model, there is no limitation to what can be automated, and business is well on the path towards digital transformation.
Closed loop automation can be used to perform assurance activities on the network, improving fault resolution time and customer experience while reducing operational headcount and cost. Defined engineering rules and capacity management functions can be automated so they are performed in an agile manner, the same way Amazon spins hundreds of thousands of VM’s per day up and down just to satisfy peaks in McDonald’s orders through uberEats.

Zero touch fulfilment of service orders can be offered across the whole product range, and the new services enabled almost immediately.

By deploying the same automation technologies as OTT providers, service providers will themselves transform into digital businesses, capable of managing their infrastructure in an automated manner — at greatly reduced cost and with greater efficiencies. There is a paradigm shift occurring within service providers as they transition to cloud optimised, digital businesses.
While content remains king, the new line heard on the battle field is: If you can’t beat them, join them.

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