Intent in autonomous networks

A guest post from TMForum

Why is the concept of intent essential to autonomous systems evolution, and how does intent-driven automation draw from expertise across different sectors?

The Big Picture

The concept of intent in autonomous networks is still very new and often misunderstood. The idea of intent-based networking has been kicking around telecoms since at least 2017, but serious industry conversations of intent as a driver of telecoms operations automation are only now progressing.

As business, service and network operations become increasingly complex, communications service providers (CSPs) are adapting and evolving through intent-driven automation.

The drivers are clear. Business, service and network operations are becoming increasingly complex as services become more heterogeneous, dynamic, distributed, and broadened to include multiple cloud assets and third-party developer and other partner solutions. 5G in its standalone incarnation brings the promise of new revenue streams for communications service providers (CSPs) and more differentiated services that better meet customers’ specific needs, but it will also add complexity. This complexity is outstripping CSPs’ ability to manage, control and assure customer experience, service operations, cost and network performance using today’s tools and approaches.

Consequently, manual and static programmatic and rules-based automation must give way to more model- and knowledge driven approaches that are based on the intents behind business, service, and resource requirements and constraints. By adopting those approaches, services can adapt and evolve more autonomously as network conditions, business goals and customer requirements shift over time.

Meeting customer needs: The ability to drive autonomous networks and CSP operations with intent is built on a simple yet powerful concept: By capturing customers’ needs, and acting to satisfy them without exposing or mandating any implementation details, customers will have a better experience and CSPs will have more flexibility in how they respond to meet those needs.

Autonomous networks, and using intent to drive them, are new approaches in telecoms and there are few if any robust commercial examples.

The focus is on the market implications of intent in autonomous networks, not on the technology that underpins it. It explores the concepts and building blocks of intent and highlights resources to go deeper into the subject.

Our recent report with members Accenture, Huawei, Oracle and ServiceNow takes a deeper look, using TM Forum Catalyst proofs of concept, and extrapolation from successful automation implementations and promising new solutions, to show what can be accomplished.  You can access the report here: Download Intent in Autonomous Operations

  • What intent is in the context of telecoms networking and operations automation
  • Why intent is important
  • The key concepts and building blocks of intent in autonomous networks
  • Drivers of, and obstacles to, the implementation of intent driven automation
  • How CSPs can implement intent-driven automation, and what might help accelerate adoption
  • Recommendations for CSPs to plan the journey to intent driven network automation.

Want to hear more about intent in network automation in a face to face setting? Hugo Vaughan, Technical Lead at TM Forum, will speak at the upcoming Layer123 Reunion network automation congress in Madrid, discussing how AI and other software megatrends can enable Autonomous Network operations. To join him and 50 other speakers for a deep technical dive into making network automation work, get your ticket here - the event takes place in Madrid from 26 to 28 April.