Paul Miller, chief technology officer at Wind River, attended the 2022 DSP Leaders World Forum in Windsor, U.K., and answered questions regarding 5G core rollout, vRAN, and more. This blog is part 2 of 2 that includes highlights from his conversation with host and TelecomTV Editorial Director Ray Le Maistre. You can also see video excerpts from the event here. Go here for part 1 of this series
Ray Le Maistre: Are you seeing an acceleration of new services in the kind of distributed architecture that you’ve been working with some of the operators? Is that helping to accelerate the process of bringing new services to the market or new capabilities out in the network?
Paul Miller: Yes, we have seen an acceleration of new services coming to the market, especially distributed architecture that we’ve been working on with some of the operators. In the past five to seven years, service innovation, service creation, and delivery have been increasingly tied to a more software-defined environment. That’s been a significant transformation.
Interestingly, we see our company from two different perspectives, between O-RAN and cloudification at the edge of the network vs. the entire network. That’s certainly a key piece in the agility of the launch of the service — the ability to deploy quickly into the network in a cloud-native approach or in a highly automated approach. We also see this at the other end of our business in the manufacturing sector, industrial energy sector, aerospace and defense, and automotive, as we sell software products to those industries. They speak a completely different language than the service provider.
Now, as they’re trying to build intelligence systems to feed into this machine economy, they need to be brought to a service provider to create an end-to-end solution that encompasses public cloud services. For example, there are AI training algorithms that run machine learning execution at the edge of the network, as well as key connectivity between systems in private networks delivering automated environments. The service innovation must happen across that entire landscape.
We also think it’s incredibly important as we move forward into this new, highly geo-distributed software-defined environment to add automation and AI. We’re starting to build systems that no single human can understand. These are extremely complex systems, and in order to make them manageable and operational for a service provider, high levels of software
,automation, ease of service deployment, and day-to-day operations are needed. This all ties into the ability to monitor and have a digital feedback loop: You can pull data back from the edge of the network before outages ever occur. You should be able to predict that they’re going to happen and avoid them. AI, machine learning, and analytics are key pieces of the operational aspects of a network.
The last piece of the puzzle, perhaps not always visible to the service provider, is modern software development methodology, which gives the DevSecOps toolchains the ability to build the application. In the service provider domain, they are at the receiving operational end of the deployment and operations of software function.
The software function still needs to be created somewhere. There’s a tie-in to that service creation, especially with modern methods such as CI, CD, and agile methodology, where you’re trying to continuously deploy and update these services into these systems. So having a modern DevOps toolchain that ties development with operations gives you a pervasive software-defined environment to create these services.
Is there rationale for increased R&D spending by the telecom operators and by their vendor partners? Would that translate into ultimately increasing revenue? Is there a business case for increasing R&D right now?
Miller: There is rationale for increased R&D spending by the telecom operators and by their vendor partners. There is always the desire to increase coverage to consumer devices. A lot of this service innovation and R&D that’s going on is about trying to create additional revenue streams for the service provider, and trying to find ways to innovate and produce services that solve customer problems that are brand-new.
Vehicles, robotics, and manufacturing represent new revenue streams for the carrier. If that service is innovative and solves a customer problem and can be delivered into the market, you can create new revenue from that. If you don’t invest in R&D, don’t innovate and create that service, which is based on a set of technologies that solves a customer problem, you can’t produce that revenue.
The justification for advanced research, development, and service innovation is always tied to revenue creation. There’s a piece of that with margin. There’s a piece of it with revenue protection that continues to innovate to protect your network against churn. It’s primarily all around new services and revenue creation.
Don’t miss Part 1 of this interview.