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Huawei looks to cut service provider opex with automation solution

Huawei software tool uses AI, data analysis to streamline field operations

As operators around the world continuously upgrade and densify their networks, managing that increasingly complex environment brings increasing costs related to truck rolls, field technicians and other operational expenses. To counteract this trend, Huawei during Mobile World Congress 2018 announced an operations consulting and software-as-a-service offering dubbed AUTIN—AUTomation and INtelligence–that includes applications for workforce and service desk management, analysis of operational data, fault management and alarm discovery, according to the network infrastructure giant.

Anil Rao, lead analyst for the service assurance research program at Analysys Mason, framed the problem during a press conference in Barcelona, Spain. He said the telecom industry is at an “inflection point” where operations are key to service provider success, and the dynamic industry evolution is only going to compound existing challenges.

He explained that “fractured processes” make it difficult to have end-to-end assurance processes, and that overworked technicians “lack incentive to do better at their jobs.” Quoting a conversations with a Tier 1 operator, Rao said the official shared the perspective that the current operation “spend pattern is not sustainable,” everything that can be automated should be automated and, “Efficiency will be an important driver as we transform operations.”

But, “How do we get there?” Rao asked. “Ultimately we want to get to an autonomous operations stage or cognitive operations where the operation sort of runs by itself. This is not a simple problem to solve.” He gave the example of competitive pressure put on telcos by over-the-top, webscale players like Amazon and Netflix. “Some of the common characteristics of operations among these companies are highly automated operational processes. Digital operations really drives some of the success of these businesses.”

Giles Vincent, principal consultant, Huawei Technologies, demonstrated AUTIN during Huawei’s Global Services showcase. He demonstrated the example of an operator using AUTIN’s real-time data analysis related to its field technicians, fleet locations and part availability to automatically route the correct truck, with the correct part to the site that generated an alarm. This streamlining of field-based workflow has a direct line to a reduction in operational expenses.

During a press conference, Vincent explained that AUTIN is based on Huawei’s Operational Web Services, which was developed as an internal tool to bring a software-driven, microservices architecture approach to create more network flexibility. Huawei used OWS to develop AUTIN, making the company’s internal approach to network management available to customers as a service.

“We used [OWS] in our operations across over 100 operations around the world,” Vincent said. “Based upon what customers have been telling us, there are many customers that want to have control of their operations, but with the capabilities of OWS. To help those customers we put out a new solution called AUTIN.”

David Shen, Huawei VP of Global Technical Services, described an inflection point in the telecom industry wherein increasing network complexity creates an immediate need to digitize operations. “The mindset is very traditional and legacy. We have to change right now.”

Shen said operators “need to think about how to improve their workforce competence. For engineering, everyday they face so many alarms…there’s no time for them to think about how to make life easier. This type of challenge is not one specific operator. This is a challenge for the whole telecommunications industry.”

Click here to learn more about Huawei’s AUTIN.

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