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Haiping Che: Stronger Cohesion in Autonomous Networks, Faster Transformation of Various Industries

Feb 25, 2021

[Shanghai, China, February 25, 2021] During the autonomous network summit at MWC Shanghai 2021, Dr. Haiping Che, Chief Digital Transformation Officer of Huawei, delivered a keynote speech titled Stronger Cohesion in Autonomous Networks, Faster Transformation of Various Industries. Dr. Che believes that the digital transformation of various industries will drive the structural upgrade of the ICT industry and technologies. Modern society, which has shifted from "weak connectivity" to "wide connectivity", will embrace "intelligent connectivity" at an even faster pace. Similar to the structural upgrade of the manufacturing industry stimulated by the Industry 4.0 initiative, the Autonomous Networks (AN) initiative is propelling comprehensive upgrade of the communications industry, including service offerings from communication service provider (CSPs) , production equipment, and producer service supplies to CSPs. On the supply side, it would simplify the industry chain structure to enable a built-in flexible production mode for creating on-demand services. On the demand side, it would embrace a digital ecosystem with innovation agility, enabling operators to effectively handle high-value yet complicated requirements from customers and markets.


Dr.Haiping Che, SVP.Chief Digital Transformation Officer Huawei

Telecom Services Need a Flexible Production System

COVID-19 continues to cause a profound impact on digital transformation. By promoting simplification, automation, intelligence, and collaboration, the telecom industry requires an improved production architecture capable of providing on-demand network services to meet flexible and situational customer requirements. In other words, the telecom industry has entered an architectural innovation phase. As production equipment becomes autonomous and management layers are flattened, operators are developing a "products on-demand, services orchestrated" mode, and creating a new digital ecosystem, enabling industry transformation through open innovation and collaborative production. This ecosystem not only improves the economic efficiency of the telecom industry, but also acts as an autonomous digital infrastructure platform facilitating the smart society and digital economy.

The AN initiative has become both a widely held industry consensus and a top concern in terms of the intelligent upgrade of telecom networks. As Dr. Che remarked at the meeting: "The Autonomous Networks initiative defines a new paradigm for network architectures and operation&business models. It optimizes the production cost structure and improves the E2E production flexibility and business agility of digital services. As such, it can aggregate the efforts of all parties within the telecom industry. It can be said that to the telecom industry, the Autonomous Networks initiative embodies Industry 4.0 in the manufacturing field."

Huawei's autonomous driving network (ADN) solution is a pioneering practice guided by the AN initiative. Using TMF's AN architecture that features closed loops within or across domains and layers , Huawei has devised a series of architecture and product innovations relating to network domains such as wireless access, wired access, IP bearer, optical transmission, core, and data center networks, aiming to achieve intelligent networks and implement architecture and product innovation of intelligent network and intelligent operations management. These innovations signal two major shifts in terms of future network evolution.

Shift from Functions to Intents, Defining Autonomous Domain Standards

To gradually evolve to L5 AN, industry stakeholders have proposed a concept dubbed "autonomous domains", which enables network production units to transit from traditional network elements focusing on executing functions to autonomous domains focusing on executing intents. Using autonomous domains as the basic management unit, they can develop a flattened architecture featuring single-domain autonomy and cross-domain collaboration. This architecture provides inter-layer and inter-domain intent interfaces that can express service semantics, thereby simplifying cross-domain collaboration, improving decision-making efficiency, and enhancing the E2E agility of service and business layers when addressing complex vertical industries’ requirements.

To provide new intelligent connectivity services for all industries, we encourage the network equipment and operation&business layers to carry out intelligent upgrades simultaneously and collaboratively.

Shift from Feasibility to Availability, Building an Industry Knowledge Ecosystem

While "scenario operation knowledge" remains as core deliverables for the telecom industry's producer service market, it also represents a longstanding industry challenge due to inefficient integration of project-specific customization. The construction of an industry-level aggregation platform and ecosystem should be accelerated so that network operation and management solutions can reach a new "energy level" featuring productized operation services as building blocks, situational operation solution integration through orchestration, and outcome-based pricing. This will enable the flexible production mode of "actionable knowledge" and improve the economy of the producer service market.

To yield even more productivity from industry knowledge cycles and ecosystems, the telecom industry must increasingly focus on knowledge engineering technologies (such as DataOps, ModelOps, and DevOps). It should also work on improving the performance of algorithms and models, and making them more scalable, explainable, and reliable. The cloud-premise synergy architecture helps the industry achieve continuous model injection and autonomous upgrades, resulting in a more intelligent network. We have verified the feasibility of technical levels in this industry knowledge ecosystem, and it is the time for industry stakeholders to work together to explore a larger network and service operation knowledge ecosystem and to enter a new stage wherein more and more actionable knowledge will be translated into services to increase general availability.

Thanks to the support and recognition of telecom operators, industry organizations, and vertical industry customers throughout 2020, Huawei ADN products made some remarkable achievements:

  • In the latest GlobeData report, Huawei iMaster NCE was ranked top of the WAN SDN controller industry four times consecutively, and took the lead in releasing an L3 ADN solution for data center networks.
  • Huawei iMaster MAE won the "2020 China Excellent 5G and Industry Application Solutions" award. Huawei xExpress, xTurbo, and xSuite solutions were widely deployed around the world.
  • Huawei iMaster NAIE was extensively deployed at more than 100 new sites thanks to its intelligent features.

Huawei — an advocate and practitioner of the AN initiative — hopes that all stakeholders will join forces to further refine AN grading standards and evaluation methods, innovate intent-driven APIs, and define industry standards together.

Huawei will keep pace with global operators and strengthen communication and dialogue with industry partners, focusing on wider, more in-depth, and more efficient cooperation. Huawei looks forward to working with industry partners to build an open and collaborative ecosystem, promote the large-scale implementation of AN, and fuel high-quality development of the global digital economy.