Sponsored by TM Forum, Catalysts bring together service providers, technology solution suppliers and large enterprises to collaborate in order to develop unique proof of concepts centered on the digital transformation of operations support systems (OSS) and business support systems (BSS). Catalyst teams leverage key TM Forum best practices, open APIs and open digital architecture (ODA) as they seek to propose innovative solutions to common challenges faced by industries around the world. Teams showcase their Catalyst projects at TM Forum’s Digital Transformation series events, and this year online during the Catalyst Digital Showcase, where entries are judged, and awards presented.
This year, EXFO is once again proud to collaborate on a TM Catalyst Project. Ghost in the Shell is phase three of an award-winning series of Catalyst Projects that include the Skynet (phase 2) and Blade Runner (phase 1) projects. An innovative proof of concept, Ghost in the Shell strives to deliver services to the medical and academic sectors via 5G and digitally transformed OSS/BSS. It will explore use cases related to medical simulation, mental health counseling, artificial intelligence and virtual reality. For such unique requirements, service assurance will be key to prioritizing, scaling and assuring, and securing mission-critical traffic during extraordinary events such as pandemics or natural disasters.
The objectives of Ghost in the Shell are to continue the journey of Blade Runner and Skynet in exploring the importance of open interfaces and standard open digital architectures to enable enterprise applications to scale and meet the expectations of 5G. , our team contributed in establishing the architectural foundation for a multi-country, multi-operator environment in enabling B2B2X applications. In previous catalysts, vendors, including EXFO, contributed to the architecture with open and standards-based solutions such as orchestration, assurance and charging/inter-operator settlement.
In Ghost in the Shell, we are collaborating to explore the benefits of Open Digital Architecture (ODA) and various open standards and open APIs in developing health care applications. The current pandemic highlights more than ever the reality that our world is tightly connected and highly inter-dependent. Collaboration between healthcare systems around the world is key in facing common threats like pandemics that not only wreak havoc on our health but paralyze our global economy. Demonstrating that a new breed of 5G and digitally transformed applications is possible to achieve, especially during a time like now, helps to shore up business resiliency and prove once again that there is no limit to humanity’s ingenuity and creativity.
Some of these digital health care applications already exist in one form or another, but those are limited in quality and most importantly scale. The requirements, and particularly the nature, of these applications requires a new paradigm for fulfillment, assurance and inter-operator settlement. In order to enable this kind of collaboration and magnitude of scale, the way that cloud and communication services are provided by service providers must change and digitally transform. A global, open and automated ecosystem based on standards must emerge. Since service assurance is a key architectural aspect in enabling the scale, resiliency and manageability of these applications, it was natural for EXFO to join and become a key contributor to this Catalyst.
Leading the architecture activity for this Catalyst, EXFO is capturing the unique nature of these applications and collaborating with Ericsson and NTT Group by contributing an assurance architecture that addresses these applications’ unique needs. EXFO is exploring the value of active testing with open APIs to provide assurance as a service. The goal is to enrich enterprise applications like remote medical education with E2E visibility of the status of the network facilitated through a mobile edge computing (MEC) infrastructure. This will enable the applications to better guide each action and operation in terms of cost and performance.
EXFO is also exploring additional use cases for 5G network slice assurance. Integration of EXFO’s open testing, monitoring and troubleshooting solution with Ericsson’s orchestration and assurance solution, will enable the assurance of network slices at fulfillment and activation. Closed loop policies will be used to help keep 5G network slices resilient and available.
NTT is contributing with Assurance++, a new unique architecture concept. This new component will integrate with the TMF ODA architecture via the intelligence management layer, enabling enterprise applications to be aware and resilient of environmental and social aspects.
View the presentation of Ghost in the Shell, part of TM Forum's online Catalyst Digital Showcase.