Service providers CBCcom, PCCW Global, Sparkle and Tata Communications, together with technology vendors Clear Blockchain Technologies and Cataworx, have joined forces to create a Proof of Concept (PoC) designed to show how Telcos can introduce next-generation services such as IoT, VR and cloud in record speed, thanks to innovations in blockchain technology, artificial intelligence and intent-based customer interfaces. The PoC will be demonstrated between the 29th and 31st of October 2018 at the MEF18 global networking event (MEF18event.com) in Los Angeles, California.
New technologies, such as IoT, VR, autonomous cars and cloud, are driving user demand for higher capacity, agile bandwidth, lower latency and a guaranteed quality of service.
While certain carriers and mobile operators have already developed capabilities for delivering on-demand services on their own network and infrastructure, inter-carrier operations are currently still managed manually as the BSS and OSS systems are not geared to offer automation of inter-carrier operations. On the operational side, the reasons include lack of a common language, use of disparate information and data models and misalignment of processes. On the commercial side, reasons include limited support of usage-based performance metrics and billing and settlement involving multi-party, multi-dimensional products. The PoC demonstrates a solution to both challenges.
The Bandwidth-on-Demand PoC will demonstrate the power and viability of a synchronized and decentralized global supply chain for inter-carrier bandwidth-on-demand services. As a result, carriers can automatically discover, quote, deliver and settle multi-product, multi-party services, eliminating reliance on a centralized intermediating party.
Cataworx will demonstrate LSO Sonata inter-carrier quoting solutions and LSO Cantata intent interfaces, enabling customers to rapidly discover and order services that span across multiple carrier networks. Clear will demonstrate LSO Sonata blockchain-based billing and settlement enabling carriers to bill for guaranteed network capacity on-demand, thus unlocking new revenue streams based on existing network infrastructure. Service providers CBCcom, PCCW Global, Sparkle and Tata Communications represent a multi-carrier interconnected network environment.
The PoC uses MEF LSO Cantata and Sonata inter-carrier interfaces for automation of bandwidth-on-demand product discovery, service eligibility verification, quote, order and blockchain-based settlement of services that are delivered across automated, virtualized and interconnected networks in accordance with the MEF LSO framework. In the PoC, customers state their intent via the bot-based Cataworx Community Portal. Off-net quotes are then exchanged across a MEF LSO Sonata Interface Reference Point as product offerings are discovered across any number of carriers. Orders are encoded in smart contracts and services are automatically settled, including provisions for SLA, using private and shared blockchain interactions.
The commercial solution, provided by Clear, involves automated multiparty inter-carrier blockchain-based invoicing, payments, dispute resolution, SLA based remedies and settling. The process eliminates manual, labor intensive and time-consuming elements of settlement, invoicing and clearing, accelerates quoting and invoicing and enables synchronized inter-carrier usage-based billing. With the elimination of a centralized orchestrator, neighboring carriers can transact directly, flexibly and automatically without revealing any sensitive commercial or operational information to a third party. This creates an equal-level bandwidth-on-demand play-field enabling any carrier to participate in the next wave of service innovation, based on their footprint and carrier-relations assets, free of vendor lock-in.
Gal Hochberg, Co-founder and CEO of Clear Blockchain Technologies, said: “The telecommunications industry is producing one of the most exponential assets of the world today: bandwidth. With a growing demand for cutting-edge technologies such as cloud, VR, or self-driving cars, telecom companies have an opportunity to unlock new revenue-generating opportunities by offering data on demand for fixed and mobile subscribers. The Bandwidth-on-Demand PoC is the first step towards a guaranteed and secured new internet layer enabling new connectivity for people and organizations wherever they are.”
Richard Fung, CEO of China Broadband Communications (CBCcom), said: “These days, no company with an eye on global expansion can afford to ignore China. Demands for bandwidth is growing exponentially in China, e-commerce transactions, Smart Cities, IoT, AI, have all been a major driver of China’s digital economy. Our goal has always been to simplify the delivery of telecommunication services to help companies investing in China to do well. Likewise, China’s company going global, the Belt and Road initiative is also driving the demand for connectivity between China and rest of the world. I strongly believe, the successful roll out of this PoC will offer great benefits for global business, and redefine inter-carrier processes.”
Shahar Steiff, AVP, New Technology, PCCW Global, said: “Customers require reliable services that are based on managed connectivity, managed compute resources and managed storage resources, delivered with uncompromised security. Telecommunications carriers strive to automate the delivery of such services in order to reap the commercial benefits of measured and billable on-demand services that will yield additional revenues from existing infrastructure. This PoC demonstrates that such services can be realized today, and highlights the need of the industry to converge towards a unified modelling and operational approach, which are the prerequisites for such automation across multiple operator domains.”
Daniele Mancuso, Director Innovation & Engineering, Sparkle, said: “The ultimate goal of MEF3.0 is the creation of multiple ecosystems of interconnected Service Providers delivering their Customers with on-demand, certified, agile, assured, and orchestrated communication services. This PoC further raises the bar of the work that the Industry has done so far toward this direction, demonstrating how traditionally static and long-lasting processes such as Partners qualification, commercial iterations and settlements, can be now automated through real-time quoting portals and with the creation of decentralized circles of trust based on blockchain technology. We are delighted to participate to this highly innovative PoC confirming, once more, Sparkle as a technology & innovation driving force in the Industry.”
Matthew Ma, Vice President, Global Technology, Network and Operations Group, Tata Communications said: “Being involved in this latest proof-of-concept not only leverages our partner and technology ecosystem, it is also a step forward in demonstrating the potential value that blockchain can deliver by improving the ways in which we interoperate in the context of next generation services and ultimately the end-user experience.”
Brian Hedstrom, Co-Founder and CEO of Cataworx, said: “We are excited about bringing our software solutions to the telecom pre-sales operations space. We’ve spent the past year gaining a deep understanding of the pain points operators face with pre-sales and partner integrations. The consistent theme is a lack of automation where inefficient and error-prone manual processes are a bottleneck to delivering agile on-demand services. We have invested heavily in technologies such as collaboration, intent, natural language and AI to simplify the user experience. Cataworx is focused on driving down Telco operating expenditures and creating a revolutionary customer experience, moving more control into their customers hands. We remain committed to the success of the MEF LSO Framework and our team actively contributes to the Sonata and Cantata interface definitions.”
Pascal Menezes, CTO, MEF, said: “MEF18 Proof of Concept demonstrations, like this collaborative effort involving PCCW Global, Tata Communications, Sparkle, CBCcom, Clear, and Cataworx, are crucial to accelerating development and worldwide adoption of assured services, orchestrated across automated networks with MEF 3.0. We are delighted by the tremendous support of leading service and technology solutions providers who are participating in this year’s PoC Showcase. More than 50 companies will be involved in 20 demos. That’s double the number of participants in last year’s popular showcase.”
Engaged with major telecommunications organizations and carriers, Clear successfully completed a GLF-led PoC with PCCW Global and Colt for international wholesale IDD voice traffic, settling historical data for both companies in less than a minute. The second phase of the PoC integrated with the carriers’ production networks to settle data in near-real-time using automatic dispute resolution and settlement logic encoded in smart contracts, and was expanded to include additional carriers Telefonica, Telstra, and BT. Clear is launching additional PoCs in roaming and mobile messaging later this year.