This post is by Neil Thorley from Nokia Solutions and Networks.
According to Informa: “The fact that Best Mobile Infrastructure at the GSMA’s Global Mobile Awards this year was won by a self-optimizing-networks (SON) entry – a joint iSON-automation-for-operations entry from NSN and O2/Telefonica UK – is a good indication that automation and optimization have become key areas of focus for the industry.”
NSN’s intelligent Self Organizing Networks (iSON) portfolio is based on a number of products that help operators automate and simplify their networks using powerful off-the-shelf tools. This is the easy part.
Despite these capable standard products, operators will sometimes need customized solutions to help them navigate their automation challenges. Let’s be honest here – the task of simplifying can be complicated, but worth it. There might also be no ready-made solution for every issue facing an operator. All this requires close cooperation between operator and vendor, not just to explore new areas for automation or to develop new features, but also to make sure the tools fit the issue at hand.
The key to success is to dive into an operator’s processes and figure out the optimal way to make iSON work for them. This might involve the operator adapting its processes to achieve the best result and requires something that goes beyond a traditional vendor-customer relationship – a partnership to find the best way forward. The same issues will more than likely crop up in other operators’ networks, so the lessons can be used to further develop the product and model the processes for a larger market. So everybody benefits – the operators, NSN, and ultimately, the users of the mobile broadband networks. The partner operator benefits by being ahead of the market and getting maximum efficiency from the feature, while the overall processes have developed for the better too.
Of course, this means there needs to be a good level of trust between the partners and an acceptance of some risk – after all, there are always legacy systems with potential limits to be taken into account.
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NSN iSON projects have been successful for both NSN and the operators involved, because of very tight cooperation, open communication and a step-by-step approach. A good example of this is the iSON Automation project with O2 (Telefonica UK). O2 cut its manual tasks by 10,000 a month, reducing operational expenditure significantly. Other benefits included improved energy efficiency and better preparation for large high traffic events.
These great results were acknowledged with the GSMA award 2014 in the category of the best mobile infrastructure, the crowning glory of some excellent iSON project work.
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