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Talking about the most important point when it comes to network automation in the era of virtualization during Telecom Review virtual panel, Roque Lozano, SVP IP & Optical Networks, MEA, Nokia highlighted the business impact it entails.

Roque explains what automation allows to happen: “The capability of doing more things if you automate the network and the capability that you can rearrange your network as a service capability in real-time.” In this case, the multi-service capability of the network is enabled due to a variety of factors such as 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), and the increased traffic and capacity demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For service providers — including Nokia as a technology supplier — to maximize this capability, defining multi-service service level agreements (SLAs) should be done regularly. By this, Roque iterated that “we are not automating the network,” but in fact, the network is only used as an enabler to be interconnected. “Provisioning, planning, commissioning, invoicing — the whole value chain is automated,” he said.

Citing SD-WAN as a particular application that has use cases that are gaining traction today, Roque added that: “Automation is not only regarding the platform — hardware and software — that we install, this includes the whole value chain of the service propositions of carriers and enterprises.”

In relation to this, Khaled Al Belooshi, VP Fixed Networks, Etisalat emphasized automation being a transformative process. From HR to IT to technology and commercial aspects, “It’s a complete strategy. It’s a complete transformation. It should not be handled as a pinpoint for each different department that’s having an issue and they start to automate.”

From a holistic perspective, end-to-end service orchestration is made possible to deliver an ultimate end-user experience through the introduction of network function virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN). The execution of the operational and functional processes must take a new approach in serving the needs of today’s more dynamic and complex networks.

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