Have you ever jumped out of a fifth-storey window whilst working with an OSS? Have you ever felt like you wanted to?Traditional network designs created with OSS solutions have been very much two dimensional (2D) in nature. Two-dimensional design packs have sufficed because that’s what was available. It was the best we had. However, they’ve never given a complete context about how to turn design into build in a three-dimensional world that has depth (underground networks), height (towers and poles) and height layers (multi-storey buildings).

In the dynamic sphere of telecommunications, the dawn of 5G is heralding the possibility of exciting changes. One important change involves amplifying the prominence of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) in the business and delivery models of Telcos. We’re not just talking a mere evolution – it holds the potential to form a full-scale revolution. Various Telco API initiatives are evolving rapidly, seeking to reinvent interactions between telcos, developers, third-party players, customers and even traditional competitors.

The vast array of assets that combine to form telecommunications networks makes the traditional telco business model highly capital-intensive (i.e. expensive – to build, operate and maintain). Moreover, due to the challenge of managing a range of parallel tasks such as customer orders, field work / workers / activities, network capacity, network health and customer payments, there is a pronounced, but often under-recognised, reliance on asset management data. 

Automations of all shapes and sizes have long been seen as the panacea for all telco network operations problems. They are intended to deliver swift and precise network planning, deployment, and management, reducing the potential for human error and optimising workflows. Network Lifecycle Automation (NLA) is a relatively new term being used in the telecommunication industry to incorporate the many different forms of telco ops automations. NLA aims to categorise the automations that change the way that networks are designed, deployed and managed. Many of these forms leverage the power of AI (Artificial Intelligence) to help network operators to be more efficient and effective.

For those with long histories working in the telco industry, it may elicit a wry smile to hear the buzzword that Digital Transformation has become in today's business landscape. Organisations across almost every industry are embracing technological advancements under the banner of Digital Transformation. It makes sense to use digital technologies to stay competitive, deliver superior customer experiences and drive operational efficiencies of course. However, for the telco industry, the path to successful digital transformation has been one we’ve walked for decades. This experience has made us well aware that these projects are often fraught with challenges and hurdles that require careful navigation.

Customers expect uninterrupted network connectivity from their telco services providers so telcos have to grapple with the enormous task of sustaining peak network performance for every minute of every day. This involves managing the sophisticated mix of physical, logical and virtual resources utilised by today’s networks, all while adapting to a constantly evolving customer / service landscape.