Microsoft actively demonstrated its growing tech role at the recently concluded Mobile World Congress 2023. The event witnessed major product announcements, ranging from innovative solutions to operator efficiency improvements, all maintained under the umbrella of Azure for Opera
Microsoft focused on feedback from multiple customer meetings, with many operators expressing keen interest in the multitude of opportunities presented by programmable networks and modern applications. The operators’ demands were centered on understanding the comprehensive cost implications of adopting cloud-native technology, insights from large-scale deployments, and the far-reaching impact of AI development for more efficient networks. Another crucial topic was the need for significant partnerships for overall success, and the acceleration of plans for virtual RAN deployments.
The recurring theme emphasized the immense potential Operators have in creating additional value as they transition their network towards cloud-native technology. The network serves as a crucial source of intelligence and functionality that can be exposed to the end-users and the larger developer community. This exposure grants operators the chance to tap into new innovative sources from the developer community and establish unique solutions to deliver exceptional value.
A significant aspect was Azure Programmable Connectivity, wherein developers are reluctant to build apps that operate on a single network; hence, the need for consistent implementation. Furthermore, some localization is crucial to ensure specific regulation adherence for data residency, privacy, and controls. Microsoft acknowledges the need for an appropriate and flexible business model to support the investments operators are making in these capabilities.
Microsoft continues its efforts with operator partners to deploy both private and public MEC solutions, emphasizing the dire need for robust application solutions to optimize the value of 5G and edge computing. This aligns with the discussions on the Azure Programmable Connectivity and the ongoing need for evolving business models as developer trials become concrete.
As operators upgrade more sophisticated service implementations, they advance from physical appliances towards disaggregated network functions based on standardized hardware deployments. This transition prompts additional challenges, driving up the cost and overall risk for operators. Microsoft’s customers need to see definitive benefits and savings when adopting infrastructure based on cloud provider technology.
Operators are keen on understanding the experiences of early leaders who have already deployed cloud-based technology solutions at scale. With the valuable insights gathered from these deployments, Microsoft has made significant improvements and successfully integrated these lessons into the Azure Operator Nexus platform. They have also reflected these lessons in their practices for on-boarding new network functions to the platform.
In reaction to the complexity of disaggregated network architecture and a desire for rapid innovation, Microsoft's solution was the announcement of two new services - Azure Operator Insights and Azure Operator Service Manager. This development addresses the need to automate network actions based on AI's insights and reduces the deployment of real-life operations from days to mere minutes.
The Azure for Operators portfolio provides industry-leading solutions for successfully delivering end-to-end services. Even as Microsoft continues to pioneer new solutions, they remain committed to supporting their partners and customers equally. Therefore, they have reinforced their long-standing commitment to working closely with the industry ecosystem in areas such as network function pre-certification, software DevOps and security best practises.
As mobile operators plan their next RAN upgrades following their current 5G NR deployments, they are looking for key answers such as support for various proposed acceleration technologies, compatibility with proposed Open RAN interface specifications, end-to-end visibility and optimized and automated CI/CD and AI ops experiences.
Overall, MWC 2023 proved to be an exciting platform for Microsoft to connect with customers and partners, showcasing the potential of Azure for Operators portfolio to the telecom world.For more detailed information on Build 2023 and Microsoft’s activities at the event, you can visit the official Microsoft site. Read the full article Key Takeaways from Microsofts Presence at Mobile World Congress 2023
Unveiling the highlights from the participation of Microsoft at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) of 2023 can be an enlightening excursion through the technology's landscape. The event encompassed the introduction of 12 influential product announcements with 20 plus demonstrations, all underlining the latest developments from Microsoft's perspective. The variety of subjects discussed covered a range of topics such as network API efforts, live private and public MEC use cases, and deploying AI and analytics to bolster operator efficiency and resilience.
The MWC 2023 experience provided an insightful feedback regarding customer and partner engagement, shedding light on operator interests and areas of concern. These include the potential monetization opportunities underpinned by programmable networks and integrated applications, and a strong preference for a persuasive TCO case when transitioning to Cloud-native technology. As per the revelations, a keen interest lies in actual deployment experiences at extensive scales, as compared to proof-of-concept deployments. It also showcased operator curiosity around AI's potential to operate sustainable, efficient, and resilient networks. The discussion also revealed that operators are more and more keen on building partnerships and ecosystems that include significant technical and commercial alliances and accelerated plans for virtual RAN deployment.
The emerging picture places a notable emphasis on network APIs and mobile edge computing. Observations suggest that as networks transition to Cloud-native technology, operators are in a unique position to create value. Insights gleaned from the MWC 2023 event also expressed that a consistent implementation across operators is necessary as developers are less likely to develop apps confined to a single network.
Another finding revolved around updating the network architecture while reducing the TCO. As operators have developed nuanced service implementations atop traditional network solutions, there is a phased shift from physical appliances to adopting disaggregated network functions oriented around standardized hardware deployments. Key focuses include defining specific savings derived from the use of automation in quickening capacity deployment and improving release quality.
Operators are also very interested in understanding the practical experiences of early adopters who have deployed similar Cloud-based solutions extensively. A significant part of this interest is directed towards Microsoft's Azure Operator Nexus platform, which supports AT&T's mobility network. Azure Operator Nexus plays a central role with its blueprint for onboarding new network functions—this includes best practices for deployment and operations, operating model, and platform API design.
There’s a potent enthusiasm surrounding the synergy of AI and Cloud-based analytics. Microsoft unleashed a couple of new services—Azure Operator Insights and Azure Operator Service Manager—geared towards simplifying network management. These services bring fresh capabilities to the table, effectively removing data silos and enabling data democratization for all users.
Throughout the MWC 2023, we noticed questions bubbling up around the support of virtual RAN workloads with Cloud technology. Among these issues are pertaining to the feasibility of hybrid Cloud platforms supporting proposed acceleration technologies for private and macro networks. This includes understanding TCO and performance expectations related to disaggregated platform use in supporting RAN workloads.
Unquestionably, the MWC 2023 was a rich opportunity for Microsoft to connect with customers and partners, increasing the deployment of the Azure for Operators portfolio in network modernization and monetization. To discover more about Azure for Operators, there are compelling readings and resources available that we encourage you to explore.
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