To unleash the transformational enterprise services of tomorrow, communication service providers (CSPs) will need fully automated, “self-driving” networks. Yet achieving them won’t happen overnight. This journey will require long-term, coordinated collaboration across the industry—from CSPs, technology vendors, system integrators and innovators from diverse industry verticals. Even so, the network investments CSPs make today can accelerate their transition. At Juniper Networks®, we know that being able to verify that a service is up and performing as intended is a pre-requisite for end-to-end automation. That’s why we advocate for active assurance as the foundation for autonomous networks. Last week, we showed just how powerful automated active assurance can be at TM Forum’s annual telecom technology conference, DTW.
The theme of this year’s DTW conference focused on the urgent need for CSPs to get fit for growth – to simplify, modernize and automate. Thousands of attendees from across the telecom industry gathered in Copenhagen, Denmark to share ideas and present cutting-edge use cases – and Juniper Networks was among the key voices at DTW23, meeting with global CSP leaders, leading a panel discussion and holding a lunch briefing to present our autonomous network vision. We also participated in multiple “Catalyst” demonstrations highlighting groundbreaking use cases, one of which won an award.
Juniper is thrilled to be playing a key role in this industry revolution with our AI-enabled, use case-based Paragon Automation solutions and widely adopted Paragon Active Assurance. We showed how CSPs can build intent-driven networks that automatically deliver the best possible experience for every user and application—and lay a foundation for the transition to the Self-Driving Network™.
Milestones on the Automation Journey
Autonomous networks promise to address CSPs’ most significant business challenges: reducing network complexity and costs, overcoming skills shortages and accelerating time to market. Achieving them, however, remains a challenging journey. At DTW23, Juniper’s Chief Network Architect, Neil McRae, joined leaders from Vodafone, Telus, Orange and others for a panel discussion on the need to accelerate network automation.
Neil reminded us that successful automation must focus on the customer experience and business intent. That is, CSPs need mechanisms to precisely measure and assure service quality, at scale, before even attempting to automate networks. Juniper is already delivering these capabilities with our automated WAN portfolio. With active test agents natively embedded into our network OS, CSP networks can become “experience sensors,” with the ability to automatically test quality throughout the service lifecycle. And CSPs can begin to differentiate in the marketplace based on the quality they can guarantee.
Juniper further reinforced this message during a briefing delivered with Vodafone Business, where we broke down the automation journey into four stages (Figure 1 below) and shared a Heavy Reading survey that asked operators where they currently stand. The vast majority are still at early stages. Over half have automated specific operational tasks, achieving “Semi-Automated Network Management.” But nearly a third still rely on manual operations.
Juniper is working to help CSPs reach the next milestone in this journey, “Conditional Autonomous Network Automation,” within the next two years. At that stage, CSPs will use intent-based orchestration to automatically deliver higher service quality and fix issues before customers even know there’s a problem. To get there, though, we believe that CSPs must first prioritize measuring service experience on the data plane. At the briefing, Verizon explained why automated, end-to-end active assurance is essential to deliver the best quality at scale.
Delivering guaranteed experiences will require new technology and processes, but fundamentally, it means refocusing CSPs’ basic network operational model from reactive to proactive. That’s precisely what Paragon Active Assurance can enable. With programmable active testing and monitoring, CSPs can verify that services are delivering the experience they’ve promised—at activation, whenever the network changes and throughout the service lifecycle.
Unleashing “Experience-Guaranteed Connectivity”
The heart of DTW is its Catalyst demonstrations, which bring together CSP and technology leaders to rapidly develop new proof of concepts (PoCs). DTW23 featured more than 50 Catalyst projects, built by more than 1,200 experts from over 110 companies, showcasing the potential of network automation. Juniper highlighted the value of automated assurance through the Experience-Guaranteed Connectivity Catalyst that we presented with BT, Verizon, Togg, Oracle and Etiya.
The Catalyst examined how valuable guaranteed connectivity experiences can be for fast-growing enterprises. With on-demand service simulation, CSPs and their customers can precisely identify markets where they can support new services. And with automated active assurance, they can certify quality before activation—accelerating time to market and enabling more stringent service-level agreements (SLAs).
To show how powerful these capabilities can be, we developed a PoC with Turkish automaker Togg, one of the world’s fastest-growing electric vehicle (EV) brands. Togg has aggressive goals to build a multinational business, serving tens of millions of customers while achieving net-zero emissions by 2030. But building a global brand means delivering an exceptional, differentiated customer experience—inside vehicles, at charging stations and at “Experience Centers,” where prospective customers explore Togg EVs. We showed how BT and Verizon could support Togg’s rapid growth by automating service quality testing and guaranteeing customer experiences through three scenarios:
- Rapid charging point roll-out, where the CSP simulates and load-tests charging sessions across all available locations and provides recommendations
- Immersive Experience Center Roadshows, where the CSP proposes “experience-guaranteed” solutions to deliver extended reality applications at temporary Togg EV showcases
- In-car experience optimization, where Togg provides personalized recommendations and smart routing to enable the best infotainment experience for drivers
These are the kinds of experiences that fuel fast-growing businesses—and they all depend on embedded network instrumentation to guarantee quality.
Monetizing the Metaverse – an Award-Winning Demonstration at DTW23
To bring profitable metaverse businesses to the mass market, the industry must overcome significant limitations—siloed platforms, limited realistic use cases, slow VR technology adoption and partnership complexities. Indeed, these barriers are so significant that DTW23 featured the “Metaverse Challenge” as one of its “Moonshot” categories—Catalysts aimed at solving the industry’s biggest challenges.
For this Catalyst, Closing the Metaverse Chasm: Monetizing the Ecosystem, Juniper joined Netcracker, AWS and several other partners to explore innovations to overcome monetization barriers and firmly position CSPs in the metaverse value chain. We created a unified, open and replicable metaverse ecosystem solution that CSPs can offer to any type of business or industry. And we demonstrated a wide range of monetization opportunities, including:
- Creating multi-channel extended reality environments using blockchain-based secure ID and digital transactions
- Automatically embedding connectivity into the immersive experience with dynamic feasibility checks to guarantee service quality
- Helping CSPs and customers curate communities of users across diverse metaverse platforms
With the ability to guarantee experiences for each user—even for highly performance-sensitive AR/VR services—Paragon Active Assurance can help accelerate the metaverse from exploratory technology to viable, profitable business opportunities for CSPs and their partners. Others agreed, as our demonstration won the “Best Moonshot Catalyst (The Metaverse Challenge)” award.
Focusing on Results
The DTW23 conversations and Catalysts were enormously exciting. But they were also extremely gratifying, as they aligned perfectly with how Juniper approaches CSP network automation.
To accelerate their automation goals successfully, CSPs need simple, outcome-focused, intent-driven automation solutions. We’ll continue working with our customers and partners across the industry to make the vision of the Self-Driving Network™ a reality. And we’ll continue unleashing a new generation of innovative automation use cases that are easy to deploy and use.
If you’d like to learn more, see Paragon Automation for yourself.