I’ve just been blown away again by another really revolutionary demonstration

Earlier in the week, I shared a really exciting video from EnterpriseWeb (in collaboration with KX and Microsoft in particular).

Clearly others have been just as impressed with that video as I was. That one video alone has triggered a wave of discussions. I suspect that’s because it provides a line-of-sight to what network operations might look like in the future.

That line-of-sight includes:

  1. You can ask the solution, using your own natural language, to stand up a new node (which consists of dozens of services, configurations and connections) and it will do it.
  2. You can also ask it to optimise the network for performance, power reduction, etc and it will initiate closed-loop automations to continually optimise the network as it evolves in near real-time.
  3. You can ask it to change capacity allocations or other configuration changes and it will do that too

Well, in response to that, a colleague named Mahdi Eslamimehr has shared a video that provides further line-of-sight to what network operations might look like in future. This one has been built on top of the OSS/BSS stack that gave me my first start in the world of OSS back in 2000. I hope you all enjoy this one too!!

These two videos are really exciting because they help people to connect the dots, taking OSS from the user-interfaces of the past to the more intuitive interactions that we need in the future.

The fact that both of these videos are built around AI-centric interaction models is important because it allows us to envisage an OSS UI (User Interface) that doesn’t have complex menus, buttons, screens, pick-lists, etc, like legacy OSS. Nor does it need a load of functionality baked into the logic layer unnecessarily. It allows us instead to focus on how the data layer interacts with these new-style interfaces and workflows on top. This concept is partially described in the table below, but is further elaborated on in our earlier article, “Do you know what the most widely used OSS/BSS application is?”

These two videos go part of the way to the vision I’ve long held for the OSS of the future.

There are three other pieces I’d like to see more of too:

One: Contextual data being available at our fingertips, along similar lines to this operations centre concept from Rolls Royce:

Two: To bring our data and visualisations into the third-dimension using AR/VR and BIM techniques. At the moment our OSS are built for flat screens, which means we can only present data on X and Y planes. The use of the Z-plane gives us the opportunity to present data in new, immersive and much more intuitive ways. One example is to show a 3D model of segments of modern packet-switched networks as traffic flows through them in real-time. We’ve provided further detail about this in this article about BIMs / GIS. In fact, the Rolls Royce operations room shown in the video above will probably be unnecessary with AR/VR technologies in the future. We’ll be able to design highly collaborative environments without needing so much operational real-estate.

Three: Speaking of increased collaboration, I expect to increase the use of immersive AR/VR to allow remote collaborations (eg between back-office and field staff) and decision support systems to facilitate faster / better knowledge sharing. The collaborations might be with other humans and/or with AI-based co-pilots. I expect that the possibilities of new collaboration paradigms may even allow us to re-think the “tick and flick” network operations models we use today that leverage hierarchical processing and re-work that’s built around ITIL / ITSM models.

If you’ve been developing any of these concepts (or similar), I’d love to see them (and share them here on the blog if you’re happy to give clearance).

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