Network operations in the metaverse
The metaverse gets a lot of attention for consumer applications. And while gaming and shopping use cases are certainly compelling, we see the metaverse’s greatest potential in applications for enterprises and industries.
At Nokia, we’ve shown how communication service providers (CSPs) will play a major role in making the metaverse come true by providing high-performance connectivity, but CSPs can also use the metaverse for their own benefit, like any other industry.
The virtual NOC
With this in mind, we created a video in which we try to visualize what an IP transport network operations center (NOC) could look like in the metaverse:
This virtual NOC brings network operations personnel together in a fully immersive environment, in a way that transcends what is possible today in the physical world. Staff members can join from various locations around a city or country, even from around the world. They can then work together to solve a problem that would be much harder to solve in the physical world, mostly because of the distances that separate them.
The command center
A typical use case for the virtual NOC is a command center scenario, where key people get together to solve a critical problem. In this virtual space, NOC personnel can meet almost instantly to visualize and troubleshoot a major network issue, even if it happens in the middle of the night.
Collaboration is a major characteristic of the metaverse.
Having the ability to put on virtual reality (VR) headsets from home and immediately interact with colleagues who all see the same screens is a big time-saver. It also significantly increases productivity and safety and can yield deeper insights about the network.
The digital twin
As illustrated in the video, the virtual NOC uses the concept of a digital twin.
While many of the technologies of the metaverse are still in their formative stages, the digital twin has already taken hold. By fusing digital and physical realities, it has begun transforming industries. For example, many new factories exist just as much in the digital world as they do in the physical world. This allows manufacturers to visualize their operations down to the smallest detail.
CSPs can use the digital twin concept to monitor and simulate the behavior of physical elements such as cards, shelves, racks or the entire network. At some point, they can decide to see their virtual actions reflected in the physical world and take direct control of operations through the digital orchestration of their network.
Digital twins can also be very useful for training purposes. New staff members can try out bandwidth increases, manage traffic, upgrade software equipment and much more without the risk of interrupting end-user services.
No metaverse without networks
Technologies will need to evolve dramatically to enable CSPs and enterprises to realize the full potential of the metaverse.
I am not just referring to VR headsets or augmented reality (AR) glasses. As I mentioned earlier, high-performance connectivity will be critical for enabling the metaverse experience. Next-generation networks must be developed and deployed to make connectivity more consumable, adaptable and autonomous.
Ensuring a glitch-free experience and avoiding issues like VR motion sickness will require networks that can deliver high bandwidth, high capacity and ultra-low latency.
There will be no metaverse without advanced networks.
To support applications in the metaverse, CSPs will need to evolve their network architecture with distributed edge clouds that minimize latency and cost and provide the optimal balance between user experience and network resource utilization.
The dynamic nature of cloud-based applications and services in the metaverse makes it difficult for CSPs to anticipate connectivity and service-level agreement (SLA) requirements. They will need highly responsive networks that can be tailored to meet the demands of specific industries.
As networks become more complex and demands become more stringent, operations will have to become more automated. Automation will enable the expected metaverse experience by making networks easily and quickly consumable by the applications they support.
Adaptive Cloud Networking
Nokia Adaptive Cloud Networking, which recently won the NetworkX award for Outstanding Cloud Automation solution, was developed to support this vision of the metaverse experience.
Automation is central to the solution. Adaptive Cloud Networking delivers advanced network operations automation across the entire network from the edge cloud, across the WAN and to the data center fabric.
This innovation in the way telco clouds are built and operated will enable CSPs to reinforce the critical role they play in today’s 5G digital network value chain and tomorrow’s industrial metaverse.