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When asked about the major impact of network automation and SD-WAN combined on the digital transformation journey, in the framework of Telecom Review virtual panel, Aloke Tusnial, Vice President of Cloud Business and Solutions at Spirent, explained that these are enablers in the modern era.

“As we move more and more into the automation world, or I should say as we move more and more into the cloud world... service providers, DSPs, are moving their infrastructure to the cloud,” Aloke said. With this in mind, a cloud-centric network becomes a more practical approach.

“In that distributed environment, in that new way of working, how exactly does digital transformation happen? I think it’s a journey. SD-WAN becomes one integral part, but a small part of that digital journey,” he added. The analogy that “automation is the forest, and SD-WAN is one of the trees” fits this context.

In line with the topic of digital transformation, Kevin Vachon, the Telecom Review virtual panel’s moderator and MEF chief operating officer, enlightened the audience of MEF’s role in enabling communication service providers (CSPs) to become digital service providers (DSPs). Through its Lifecycle Services Orchestration (LSO) framework, frictionless, end-to-end service automation, within and between providers, is directed to the enterprise.

“Our strategy at MEF is we started building our APIs to support carrier and enterprise APIs, to support certain types of services, but we move more rapidly towards a pay-load independent approach,” Kevin explained.

Having this standard architecture that allows delivering digital and connectivity services to all ecosystem players, Dr. Ibrahim Gedeon, CTO, TELUS said: “I think as an industry, it moves us to work on standards that simplify things.”

And as more enterprises opt to move to the cloud, Dr. Ibrahim pinpoints the advantage in terms of automation: “The key thing is we don’t need hardware-based gateways, we all have clouds — be it public, be it private, be it hybrid.”

Neil Templeton, Vice President of Digital Innovation Marketing at PCCW Global, also mentioned that currently, “there are two areas of growth for enterprise networks that stand out. One is SD-WAN, a $9 billion dollar business in a couple of years’ time, by 2024. The other one, interestingly, is direct private connectivity to cloud.”

Meanwhile, Khaled Al Belooshi, VP Fixed Networks, Etisalat also stated that SD-WAN’s capability and enrichment for service automation has a great deal to its customers. “If the customer is happy to come through me, he can take my CPE to other places and just connect back to me through SD-WAN.”

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