Ericsson has launched the Intelligent Automation Platform, a service management and orchestration product that it claims will enable any mobile network to be automated intelligently.
The platform facilitates artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, which Ericsson says improves network performance, operational efficiency and customer experience to help create smarter networks. It will work across new and existing 4G and 5G radio access networks (RANs) and will support diverse suppliers and RAN technologies, including purpose-built and Open RAN.
Ericsson’s Intelligent Automation Platform automates the radio access network using AI and radio network applications (rApps) with different functionalities. In a similar way to an operating system that automates operations, resources and identifies improvements to be made across the network, the platform includes a non-real-time RAN intelligent controller (Non-RT-RIC) that operates rApps.
Building on existing offerings, including cloud-native dual-mode 5G Core and its Cloud RAN portfolio, the company says it is adding the Intelligent Automation Platform and a suite of rApps as a natural next step to build the networks of the future.
The platform supports ecosystems by enabling software developers to build products through a software development toolkit. A suite of Ericsson rApps with field-proven capabilities will be made available on the platform across four domains – efficient automated deployment, network healing, network evolution and network optimisation. The suite will continue to grow in collaboration with customers.
“We embrace the principle of openness and the evolution to open network architectures,” said Jan Karlsson, senior vice-president and head of business area digital services at Ericsson. “Building on our Cloud RAN offering, we are taking another major step towards building the network for the digital future with the launch of the Ericsson Intelligent Automation Platform, which fundamentally enables smarter mobile networks.
“We look forward to providing our customers with an open platform that enables operational efficiency, enhances customer experience and drives service innovation. I am happy to hear the reactions from our customers already being positive towards our new product and we look forward to future development and innovation.”
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Leading telcos are already on board with the new technology, said Ericsson. “As we expand and modernise building more reliable networks in more places, managing network complexity via automation is critical to ensure our customers best quality of experience,” said Neil McRae, MD architecture and strategy and chief architect at BT Group.
“At BT, we connect for good and continuously innovate to provide the best services for our customers. I’m pleased to see that Ericsson is launching the Intelligent Automation Platform for automating networks, based on the O-RAN Alliance service management and orchestration [SMO] concept. Ericsson’s vision to extend that SMO concept to support both Open RAN and existing 4G and 5G networks, using a single operational pane of glass, is an innovative approach.”
Toshikazu Yokai, executive officer, chief director of mobile technology at KDDI, added: “KDDI recognises the importance of SMO and automation to achieve optimal network operations across multi-vendor, purpose-built RAN and Open RAN environments. SMO, combined with an open software development toolkit, has the potential to drive rApps innovation and diversity, unleashing CSP, telecommunications vendor and third-party software provider innovation to optimise network performance, improve operational efficiency and drive superior customer experiences.
“KDDI expects SMO and the Non-RT-RIC to fine-tune RAN behaviour and to assure SLAs dynamically based on slice specific service requirements. KDDI looks forward to collaborating with Ericsson to explore the potential of these solutions.”