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Nokia is a leader in the real-world application of AI and ML. In an exclusive interview, Dalia Nabil, Head of Presales, Business Applications, MEA, Nokia, discusses the importance of deploying automation and AI, Nokia’s orchestration portfolio and the benefit of the company’s AI Ops approach for CSPs, among other insights.

Why do CSPs need to adopt a new approach to network and service operations?

The 5G era requires a new operation paradigm — one that is underpinned by network slicing, automation and AI, and where we connect the network to the business so that operations are truly driven by business intent.

The new approach is mainly driven by two factors: increased technological complexity and new business dimensions.

Networks that have been created over time have always been complex. These are layers of new and old multi-vendor technologies that must coexist and be managed by an ever-decreasing number of operations engineers. We are already at the limits of human abilities, and 5G will bring a raft of new technologies and new complexities that will push us over the edge.

5G also brings a new set of business dimensions. These dimensions include a huge variety of use cases as well as new B2X business models and an evolving ecosystem of partners and enterprise customers.

Additionally, as hyperscalers push further into the telecom space, there’s more urgency than ever for CSPs to strengthen their value proposition in the expanding digital ecosystem.

To address these challenges and unlock their networks' actual value, CSPs need trusted partners that can guarantee intelligent, secure operations to simplify network complexity and monetize 5G services. Deploying automation and AI to respond to business intent will be foundational to each of these goals.

According to the TMForum, up to 72% of CSP revenue growth associated with 5G is dependent on the evolution of operational and business support systems.

What are the newly developed use cases for customers, enterprises and consumers with regard to autonomous operations? How does Nokia enable these?

Autonomous networks aim to define fully automated, zero-wait, zero-touch, zero-trouble and innovative network services. They support self-configuration, self-healing, self-optimizing and self-evolving telecoms network infrastructures for telecoms internal users.

One of the key 5G use cases is network slicing, which is equipment-vendor agnostic and can span across a radio network from vendor one, to the core of another. CSPs can define the specific characteristics of a slice, including speed, latency, reliability and security.

Nokia’s award-winning Digital Operations Center is a modular solution comprised of an Orchestration Center, an Assurance Center and a common Unified Inventory.

Nokia’s orchestration portfolio addresses a diverse universe of use cases, services, business models and technologies for monetization of “business-centric use cases.” including but not limited to the design and delivery of 5G slices, intent-driven service orchestration, Bandwidth on Demand and overlay service orchestration services, e.g., SD-WAN, Domain service enabler for NaaS.

Nokia’s assurance portfolio addresses a diverse universe of AIOps use cases, technologies and ML-based automations at the network and service level that simplify operations and increase business agility and operations efficiency through predictive key performance indicators, anomaly detection and closed-loop intelligent automation.

Enabling the world of “Anything, Anywhere and Anytime,” could you please tell us more about the Hexa-X project and other initiatives related to Nokia’s 5G/5G A/6G vision?

Hexa-X is a 25-member consortium with players from adjacent industries and academia. Nokia has the overall lead role. The project primarily captured the aspirations that European businesses, academia and other organizations had for the 6G network, as well as identifying the kinds of technologies that would be needed to realize the vision. The Hexa-X project envisioned that 6G would be a key societal platform for building efficient and sustainable ways of living, ensuring trust, security and privacy, and creating economic prosperity and growth.

Another Nokia initiative is 5G Vinni, an EU-funded project with Telenor and a 23-member consortium, with members such as Telenor and BT. 5G Vinni aims to address the demands of verticals by inviting them to co-innovate with CSPs on network slicing (with 30+ use cases). Nokia’s role is key in the project to support zero-touch orchestration, operations, and management systems for the 5G-VINNI facility (Telenor), deployed on AWS Cloud.

In addition, Nokia Bell Labs researches communication in the 6G era, as the tradition of deploying a new cellular generation approximately every decade will continue, with 6G becoming a reality in the 2030s. One of the key areas in Bell Labs 6G research is network automation and orchestration (NAO) technology, which has several high-growth segments.

How does Nokia’s AI Ops improve the deployment and use of autonomous networks?

AI/Ops can greatly enhance the deployment and use of autonomous [networks] in many ways, and most CSPs are well-versed in the projected benefits of AI in operations. Backed by decades of OSS/BSS expertise and Nokia Bell Labs AI investments and other data science techniques, Nokia is in a unique position to help CSPs know which AIOps method to deploy, when to use it and why.

Ranked #1 for network automation software by Appledore, Nokia’s Digital Operations automation software is designed to help CSPs design, deploy and assure services across the service lifecycle. China Mobile saw a 20% reduction in energy use when it deployed Nokia’s AVA for Energy solution, delivered via SaaS. Nokia also helped Vodafone detect and remedy network anomalies before Vodafone customers were aware of any issue.

Nokia has shown how we’ve united our knowledge around automation, AI, and other intelligence techniques to help CSPs create value in a connected world through AIOps.

Can you provide more details on how Nokia’s AI Ops approach generates value, monetizes assets and provides the best experience to customers?

As CSPs strive to deliver faster data speeds, lower latency and better overall network performance, it’s a mandate to grow beyond offering traditional connectivity services to offering new digital services over B2B2X models, and this must be executed while faced with sustained pressure to manage costs.

By adopting AI Ops, CSPs can address their top business priorities: growing revenue using AI-based tools to identify new revenue opportunities for upselling by using data about customers’ consumption patterns.

CSPs can also increase revenue by using network intelligence to improve the services offered to customers and develop new services.

Delivering a better customer experience using AI models to provide insights that support CSPs’ customer engagements, including services to provide targeted customer service/care. These are important for reducing churn and growing revenue.

Finally, improving service quality where AI algorithms automatically detect and predict issues that affect the quality of services offered to customers. Remedial steps are also prescribed or executed. As the network gets more complex, CSPs need to leverage AI tools to automate these functions to maintain high-quality outcomes.

By leveraging the compelling combination of our Nokia Bell Labs innovation and data science expertise, plus our proven results from customer deployments. Nokia is a leader in the real-world application of AI and ML, and we will deliver automation and intelligence — across the network and services and directly to the customer with our AIOps solutions and services. And we will help CSPs secure, automate and monetize their current and future 5G investments with AVA Intelligence Everywhere.

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