This Catalyst explores how communication service providers (CSPs) can offer enterprises guaranteed and differentiated 5G connectivity services – with the security, data sovereignty and control that enterprises need to move more mission critical workloads onto the CSP’s 5G network. Such control should be governed and addressed in accordance with the business priorities of the enterprises themselves – not those of the CSP.
5G: Accelerating smart aviation – Phase IV builds on the work completed in the previous phase of this Catalyst stream, The Aviator, which addressed the potential for 5G adoption in the aviation industry. That team showed how CSPs can flexibly design, deliver, monitor, manage, and charge for differentiated and optimized 5G services.
The project used closed-loop automation to automatically reallocate underlying network resources from a lower priority network slice to a higher priority network slice when AI predicted the slice’s capacity would be exhausted. Once the congestion abated, the demonstration restored the original settings.
Control at the business level
The Catalyst’s champions, BT Group and JT IoT, wanted to explore how CSPs might best expose to enterprises the appropriate level of control over their traffic on the CSP’s network. This would allow them to address their own objectives such as business optimization, customer experience, regulatory compliance, and so on. Such “business intent” is often dictated by private enterprises’ data and applications, and is not visible to the CSP providing the 5G connectivity.
The participants collaborating to build the solution are i2i Systems, MYCOM, OSI, and Oracle Communications. They use an intent-based business approach – manifested as business policies and parameters – to determine the business outcomes in various situations.
The Catalyst explores two scenarios:
The needs of an airline and airport business owner (for example a vice president responsible for the customer journey) focusing on the end-to-end experience of passengers traveling through an airport. It considers how, in the event of an unexpected and material delay affecting many passengers, this business owner could be empowered to reward the loyalty of delayed VIP passengers by adjusting parameters on a business policy to explicitly enhance their 5G communications experience.
The objectives of the airport business owner who is responsible for optimizing airport revenues and profitability (for example a chief commercial officer). In this scenario, the airport uses two dedicated, but different, 5G network slices provided by the CSP. One is for internal operational needs and the other to support revenue-generating airport services. Here the business owner is empowered by insights into the respective traffic flows and the tools to automatically and safely trigger the CSP to switch capacity from the operational slice to the revenue-generating slice as required.
In each example, the business owner’s action is based on enterprise insights such as flight delays, and opportunities for additional revenue. The combination of these “private” insights, together with the supporting “public” 5G network connectivity, collectively enables these business owners to take action by modifying parameters on business policies. This optimizes their business outcomes by rewarding loyal passengers, optimizing airport revenues and profitability, and more.
The team found three parties benefited from the work done in the Catalyst.
First, if a CSP can indeed empower their enterprise customers with such levels of control, then the proposition is more compelling to enterprise customers. It also differentiates the CSP’s services from those offered by other CSPs and alternative enterprise connectivity solutions.
Second, if enterprises have more business level control over the CSP’s 5G connectivity, together with data security and sovereignty, they are less likely to consider solutions such as private LTE/4G or private 5G or, in the U.S., Citizens Broadband Radio Services (CBRS). This is because in the long run, the CSP proposition could be the more cost effective and lower risk, and offer a future-proof connectivity solution.
Third, as illustrated in the examples above, the enterprise’s own end customers also stand to benefit, and higher customer satisfaction drives more business for the enterprise and, consequently, for the CSP.
Although the origins of the Catalyst were to look specifically at enterprise customers, its work expands the scope for exposing 5G connectivity to multiple stakeholders such as other service providers within different industries, and to consumers via 5G cloud gaming companies, among others.
The Catalyst’s architecture mapped well to TM Forum’s Open Digital Architecture (ODA) domains and used a number of the Forum’s Open APIs. In addition, the team is looking to make JIRA contributions to propose a new Open API for policy management and propagation which builds on the work conducted by the Forum and other standards development organizations in this area.