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2018 has proven to be a busy year for MYCOM OSI as the global CSP community wakes up to the instrumental role cloud-based service quality assurance can play in realising autonomic networks. In this interview, Mounir Ladki, MYCOM OSI’s president and CTO, sets out his vision and describes the transformations his company has already made.

MYCOM OSI seems to be riding a wave this year and making multiple headlines. What’s going on?

Yes, we have created something the market is really craving now, a solution which is genuinely disrupting the market at a time when operators absolutely need to rethink and behave differently in the way they manage and provide assurance around their network and services.

As CSPs embrace digital transformation, the emphasis is shifting to innovative on-demand, real-time consumer and enterprise digital service opportunities. This demands new ways of launching, monitoring, managing and ensuring the quality and performance of services as well as the networks they run. We play directly to that need with an intelligent, integrated solution for visualizing, automating and optimizing digital experiences, as well as service and network quality. We cater for this, end-to-end, across hybrid physical and virtual telco and IT networks, providing integrated, real-time assurance with closed-loop automation and analytics driven by AI/machine learning.

Our solution is different than anything that has gone before. We provide assurance as a cloud offering that can be consumed via a software-as-a-service (SaaS) subscription model. We integrate and augment open source environments like ONAP, OSM and ONF, and embrace open APIs and big data. It all adds up to a solution that’s highly scalable, can harness the latest technologies, including smart  analytics and self-management techniques, and which increases the quality of service (and SLA options) for customers, while simultaneously reducing complexity and cost for service providers.

This approach has now attracted a number of prestigious industry awards, hasn’t it?

Yes. We won a significant TM Forum award for operational transformation and agility, for championing a solution built on a modern architecture that’s designed specifically to be delivered via a cloud environment. It is genuinely transformational for our customers because it enables the automation of very complex operational processes, taking CSPs closer to being able to realize dark, zero-touch and even no-NOC networks. We’ve also been recognised as a ‘Top 10 company to watch’ by Stratecast|Frost & Sullivan, and been covered by Ovum’s On The Radar.

What are you offering that is so different and disruptive?

Just as Salesforce disrupted sales management and CRM by moving everything into the cloud and making it accessible through a different purchasing model (SaaS), we offer an ‘assurance cloud’ for CSPs harnessing the same delivery model. In doing this, we have overturned 30+ years of traditional cumbersome approaches to OSS and reinvented the service assurance market based on cloud benefits, technologies and commercial models. Nobody else has done this with the real, large-scale commercial project success that we have.

The fact that our solution is cloud native means it is infrastructure-agnostic, so it can be run in any telco-optimized cloud environment – and we have strong partnerships with AWS and Red Hat – in addition to traditional datacenters and bare metal if necessary. We use DevOps to reduce deployment and operations efforts as well as cost associated with assurance systems by 75% versus traditional OSS approaches. It also means massively reduced headaches in infrastructure acquisition and management by CSPs, which can be a major reason for project delays. Our subscription business model option, meanwhile, accelerates deployment and helps map assurance costs better to CSPs’ Capex and Opex needs and challenges.

We approach service assurance and quality holistically and have collapsed the traditional silos of service assurance – performance, fault and service management – into a single integrated, real-time system enhanced by automation and AI/ML-driven analytics. So, we look after every aspect of quality assurance, not just the performance of the underlying network, but also how services are experienced by every customer.

Automation is key and we offer fully programmable open- or closed-loop solutions that monitor, detect, analyze, make recommendations, and fully self-heal and self-optimize CSPs networks end-to-end. We also enable the launch of digital services much faster thanks to automatic on-boarding and closed-loop integration of assurance and fulfilment.

Tell us about some of the CSPs already using your cloud-based solutions.

Well, we have two of the largest and most innovative operators in the Middle East deploying our cloud platform, but one of the earliest public success stories is Three in the UK. It carries about a third of the UK’s data traffic and is deploying the world’s first telco cloud with its fully integrated, cloud-native core network. Our assurance cloud will manage Three’s entire IT and telco network from RAN to core, both on the physical and virtualized parts of the network, all in one place. This has never been done before. Our solutions are also deployed in one of the top five largest CSPs in the world with 300+ million subscribers. Beyond the sheer scale of operations and the two hundred billion data records per hour we are crunching, an interesting point is that the CSP has set out to automate 95% of its network and service quality management with our platform and catalogue of automation solutions. And we just very recently signed up one of the largest European operators to transform their network and service operations. 

Finally, what does the future hold, where do you see the next priorities?

We talk about the complete transformation of the service assurance function from a tactical solution to a ‘digital brain’ that helps make the network of the future autonomic – i.e. automated and driven by AI. This is about taking experience, performance and quality indicators across all networks, services, customers and devices, IoT or subscriber, and continuously monitoring them in real time. It’s about detecting or predicting degradations or anomalies, figuring out root causes or optimization recommendations, and then orchestrating changes in the network and services as needed. And all of this is powered by closed-loop automation, and driven by self-learning. Once you can get to this point, then service and quality assurance can provide additional strategic value - taking the wealth of assurance data and intelligence and using this to automatically govern networks as well as monetize digital services.

All of these capabilities will soar up the agenda with 5G and IoT, where new use cases require even higher focus on QoE, QoS and guaranteeing SLAs - for example driverless vehicles, remote robotic control and latency- or mission-critical applications. One of 5G’s killer benefits – and key to monetization – is to allow QoS to be differentiated through network slicing across different customers, applications, use cases, locations and times. Each individual network slice, provisioned dynamically and on demand, will need to be quality assured, while at the same time hundreds of slices will need to be quality assured as a whole. Our solution is deployed on the 5G test network at the University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre in UK, and we are engaged in several 5G proof of concepts with TM Forum to progress our developments in these areas.

Finally, AI/machine learning is a particularly promising area, specifically how it will provide predictive and problem-solving capabilities that are too complex, too large in scale or too dynamic in speed for humans to comprehend and act on. Some of our customer proof-of-concepts in this area are yielding some very interesting results.

For more information on MYCOM OSI, visit www.mycom-osi.com

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