The virtualized network brings with it the promise of service innovation and explosive growth. Highly elastic (to cost-effectively address scaling up or down) and service agile (with a DevOps approach to innovation), the virtual network is set to play a pivotal role in the transformation toward IoT and 5G. It also brings with it the tools to enable this explosive growth. Many analysts predict there will be more than 20 billion IoT devices by 2020—and it is simply impossible to connect and manage this many devices manually.
The virtual network unlocks the possibility of a truly zero-touch, or fully automated, network by moving everything to software running on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware platforms. By leveraging standard operations models, like the MEF lifecycle service orchestration (LSO) model, services can now be created, spanning multiple carrier domains and technologies, using open APIs driven through customer portals or carrier back office systems— without the need for human intervention. With no need to wait for truck rolls and IT support to turn up new services, growth is limited only by network capacity and reach.