Realize your automation strategy through open collaboration
There is a lot of discussion about “openness” in the networking industry but what does it actually mean? The Android OS for smartphones offers a helpful analogy. It democratized value creation by providing an open platform that gave all app developers a chance to meet new demands with rapid, timely innovation. These innovations have changed the mobile industry, just as disruptive webscale innovations have changed traditional industries such as hospitality and transportation.
The same trends exist in our industry, too. Until very recently, service provider networks were closed and proprietary. Then webscalers changed the network paradigm by moving to open disaggregated architectures. Service providers are following suit.
To create technology that helps the world act together, our industry must:
- Accelerate time to value by enabling rapid development through agile methodologies
- Develop a fail-fast culture that values experimentation
- Embrace out-of-box thinking and collaboration with others who share common goals and want to solve the same business problems
Thankfully, our industry can take on these challenges by borrowing successful ideas and concepts from other industries, including open platforms and ecosystems.
Turning optical networks into value-creation platforms
At the start of 2019, we asked ourselves some questions: What if optical networks could be more like platforms? What would these platforms look like? What kinds of business opportunities could they support?
By popular definition, a platform business generates revenue with services delivered through applications and open APIs on a scalable technology foundation that can be used and extended by customers and partners. This definition is the guiding light behind our WaveHub ecosystem program.
The WaveHub program focuses on accelerating innovation to create value. It is a proof-point for, and commitment to, our plan to use openness and collaboration to enable new innovation and transformation. It is also part of our portfolio strategy, and will help deliver outcomes that address our customers’ business needs. We complement WaveHub with our professional services practice, WavePrime, and our software portfolio, which is made up of WaveSuite and the Network Services Platform (NSP). The foundation for this software is WaveFabric, our family of scalable and programable optical networking platforms.
WaveHub uses a rolling process to continuously bring new innovations to market. WaveHub communities engage and exchange ideas on topics of interest, including how technologies could be applied to address specific business needs. For example, one WaveHub community is exploring how smart contracts on blockchain could automate the implementation of commercial terms and agreements for connectivity services.
A closer look at WaveHub
WaveHub is made up of three key components designed to accelerate growth and innovation and remove barriers to collaboration.
WaveHub communities are created and managed using the Nokia Open Ecosystem Network (OpEN), a platform that enables simplified, secure, and frictionless collaboration. They can include a variety of companies that work on various types of activities.
For example, some communities involve customers and focus on accelerating new product introduction and conducting integration tests on our latest APIs. Others involve multiple companies and focus on exploring the business opportunities that could be addressed by combining networking, services and software for different vertical markets. Still others involve start-up companies that are working to integrate their software products with ours to create new differentiated solutions.
WaveHub Labs is the optical networks-focused extension of our Network Developer Portal. It enables rapid creation and integration by giving developers easy access to information about our products and exposed APIs. Developers can also test their creations against a growing catalog of virtual, simulated labs that can be spun up automatically on demand. We continue to enhance WaveHub Labs by adding support for new software, network element types and access methods.
WaveHub Innovation Marketplace
The WaveHub Innovation Marketplace is a digital storefront for solutions created through the ecosystem. This business-to-business engagement platform makes it easy for customers to discover innovative offerings from us and our partners. The marketplace complements our existing go-to-market channel. Our goal is to invite more customers and partners to register and view the solutions and innovations.
Creating value through partnerships
Through ecosystem partnerships, we can deliver joint value propositions that address multiple pain points. For example, one solution developed in collaboration with a start-up ISV aims to accelerate the service quotation process. The ISV’s focus on the commercial layer complements our WaveSuite Service Enablement applications, which automate the fulfillment of network connectivity services. One of our key system integrator partners helps our customers integrate and implement the solution’s components in their unique environments.
Up to 60 percent of the time between a customer’s initial service request and the point at which it is fulfilled and generating revenue is spent creating a quote. This joint solution addresses some of the top challenges our customers have told us they face, namely the complicated, time-consuming and largely manual business processes involved in offering, quoting and fulfilling requests for connectivity services.
Collectively, we’re trying to enable better business outcomes for our customers. The solution helps automate the configure, price, quote (CPQ) process and involves the integration of our own products with those of a complementary partner, by another complementary partner. It is available in our marketplace.
WavePrime: Services that ease optical network transformation
Our WavePrime professional services play a central role in delivering, customizing and integrating solutions created through WaveHub – and helping our customers realize their desired business outcomes. With WavePrime, we offer a portfolio of service practices that focus on the business transformation of transport networks. These practices help customers deploy solutions and use cases that will enable them to reap the benefits of network automation.
The WavePrime portfolio includes as-a-service offers for capabilities such as digital twins. With digital twins, network operators can create virtual replicas of existing or planned physical networks. This provides a risk-free environment in which they can experiment with changes such as new business process automation before implementing them in the production network.
We implement digital twins through a WavePrime practice, support them with our network element simulators and software (including WaveSuite and NSP), and host them in a secure, virtual private cloud. The WavePrime team provides consultation services to customers and sets up, maintains and supports each digital twin.
Putting digital process automation to work
We also use WaveHub and digital twin-as-a-service as part of our WavePrime Digital Process Automation practice. This practice focuses on helping customers achieve their desired business outcomes by automating the business processes associated with their network and service operations. Based on the use cases most requested by customers, we are prebuilding a catalog of automation artifacts such as resource adapters, digital methods of procedure (DigiMops) and workflows using WaveHub Labs. Our WavePrime professional services experts use these digital artifacts to accelerate the delivery of our automation solutions and support our partners.
For customers seeking collaborative or turnkey solutions, WavePrime offers consulting, integration and customization capabilities. These collaborative engagements are managed through WaveHub communities. Innovations from these collaborations can also be added to our catalog of automation artifacts. The entire process can be de-risked, accelerated and refined through the use of digital twins. This type of digital creation methodology helps ensure a smooth implementation into production environments.
Why join WaveHub?
Customers and partners alike have several compelling reasons to join WaveHub. WaveHub Labs provides a flexible, on demand lab environment that accelerates product integration and testing and reduces your need for on-premises physical labs. Any collaboration or co-creation activities you undertake through WaveHub can lead to commercialization opportunities. The WaveHub marketplace provides easy access to innovations and solutions that can address your business needs. And finally, you can take advantage of innovative WavePrime services such as digital twins and process automation.
So join our WaveHub initiative and start realizing your automation strategy. Explore our marketplace, too. Let’s seize the opportunity to collaborate, fail fast and experiment again as we strive to create technology that helps the world act together.
WavePrime Professional Services webpage
Solutions: Insight-driven optical networks webpage
Blog series: Automating optical networks for success
Application note: Insight-driven optical networks: Automating networks with innovative business and network insights
WaveSuite Service Enablement: Automate and accelerate the delivery of optical services video
Data sheet: WaveSuite Service Enablement data sheet