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Dial-a-ride, call up the future

Dial-a-ride, call up the future

Ever called up an Uber and wondered what it has in common with the future of 5G networks? Probably not, but consider this.

Uber’s mapping comes from Google, communications from Twilio, payments from Braintree, email from SendGrid, and its main app is hosted on AWS. It links together many capabilities, on many clouds, and in doing so creates an ecosystem-enabled service chain for mobility as-a-service.

And that’s precisely what we’re now seeing in our industry. A generational shift with the emergence of new service chains based on infrastructure, networks, and applications.

These service chains are drawing on a digital ecosystem of CSPs, hyperscalers, device manufacturers, partners and developers to deliver new types of value for enterprises and consumers.

Nowhere is this more evident than edge cloud adoption, which requires a network service capable not only of the horse power for edge data processing, but also high reliability for mission-critical use cases.

Cloud-hosted, leveraging a combination of public and private wireless networks, and driving user-specific applications, these new service chains ‘stitch together’ ecosystem players.

It’s a major break with the past, where services were typically provided by a single company, paid annually by subscription, and delivered as a software download. Now, use cases combine offerings from an entire ecosystem of providers, delivered as-a-service and paid for on a usage basis.

New value

By aligning the digital ecosystem in this way – and stitching together its constituent parts – a novel way of working is created, which breathes new life and importantly new value into the network.

That’s because these service chains feature superior levels of network agility, enabled by slicing and high quality of service.  (And here at Nokia, we plan to bring our solutions, know-how and partners right into the heart of them.)

CSPs benefit from network simplification and a fast route to 5G monetization with streamlined introduction of new applications and experiences. Network as-a-service means that CSPs can quickly scale new services for their customers. Hyperscalers? They  attract enhanced workloads. Device manufacturers benefit from an ecosystem that provides the groundwork for great customer experiences.

Crucially though, the network becomes available as software code to the hyperscaler developer and partner ecosystem. Here it creates further value. Developers get ‘platinum card’ ease of access to the network, as well as the assurance of performance levels that ensure great user experience. The end user is the beneficiary of the network’s capability for mass customization – suiting whatever business need is required, or customer experience desired.

Individualized service

The network is now capable of delivering a highly individualized service to both enterprises and consumers. In the enterprise, value is characterized by automation, Industry 4.0 and the potential to innovate in ways previously thought impossible. 5G consumers benefit from new personalized apps and experiences. We’re now looking at networks that are eminently able to flex to specific need, or industrial process, with users paying only for what they use.

In this generational shift we move to a more dynamic, flexible and responsive network. With the network now as code, it is more consumable, available, and accessible as a tool for the digital ecosystem – with developers central – to design and deploy new services.

This way, we move on from the network of the past; a more valuable network is needed, and service chains featuring high levels of agility, thanks to network slicing and automation,  are poised to deliver that value.

In this way, the network is destined to play an even more influential role  in the ecosystem – leveraging abstraction and orchestration, and delivering new use cases across any infrastructure, platform or application.  

Key components

As service chains emerge as the pre-eminent model to deliver network services and create value, we see a number of key components required for them to become fully effective.

Edge cloud. It’s a priority for our enterprise customers, and so it’s a priority for us. It’s where the ecosystem will increasingly congregate to deliver value. Meeting this need is a major reason behind recent introduction of our MX Industrial Edge cloud solution for mission-critical, OT use cases.

SaaS. Nokia is in the ‘Everything as a Service’ business. We’ve been on the SaaS path for some time and our applications have been configured to be fully cloud-native – a key SaaS ingredient. We’re bringing our first SaaS products to market for CSPs and enterprises across analytics, security, and data management, and there’s more to come.

Finally, Network as Code. With emerging service chains, we can make the network available as code to hyperscaler developers, partners and their ecosystem. The network creates value for developers, making it ripe for fast introduction of high-performance use cases that drive innovation, Industry 4.0 and new, personalized customer experiences.

So, next time you call up an Uber, have a think about it. That highly personalized mobile-as-service app is the outcome of a service chain. Now, think 5G and everything that it promises – and dial up the future, with a network able to deliver new value across the widest range of consumer experiences and industrial applications.

Raghav Sahgal

About Raghav Sahgal

Raghav is a global leader and entrepreneur in the cloud, software and communications space, paving the path to a secure and digital future.

In his current role as President of the Cloud and Network Services business at Nokia, Raghav leads the transition for communication service providers (CSPs) and enterprises across the world to cloud-native software and as-a-service businesses.

He has more than 30 years of experience leading high-tech companies in the areas of IT, enterprise software, and telecommunications. Raghav resides in the U.S. and enjoys golf, running, and globe-trotting, having lived all over the world including his native India, the United Kingdom, and now the United States.

Connect with Raghav on LinkedIn.


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