Events

The ‘What’ and ‘Why’ of AI: OSS President Rahul Atri shares ‘intent-driven’ vision with experts at TM Forum’s DTW event

By
Suddhaloke Choudhury
Global Content and Social Media Manager
Rakuten Symphony
April 4, 2024
5
minute read

Rahul Atri, President, OSS Business Unit and Managing Director, Rakuten Symphony India, took to the stage at the India leg of TM Forum’s DTW Asia Tour for a fireside side with Aaron Boasman-Patel, Vice President of AI, Labs and Innovation at TM Forum to discuss the current telecom landscape, its future, the importance of India for a product company like Rakuten Symphony and more.

The telecom industry needs to fail fast and learn from its previous mistakes if it is to fully capitalize on the opportunities presented by AI and automation, Rakuten Symphony OSS President Rahul Atri told an audience of experts at DTW Asia Tour, Mumbai. “Worst case scenario, we will fail for a few months, but eventually, we will get there,” he said. “Even if everyone gets to Level 3 or 4 automation, it will be a huge success.”

Moving the needle will require an industry-wide commitment in order to avoid a scenario in which, 2 years down the line, the telecom industry will still be concerned with declining ARPU, Atri said on his panel session ‘intent-driven networks and OSS of the future’ which was hosted by moderator Aaron Boasman-Patel, Vice President, AI, Labs & Innovation, TM Forum.

Technology is not the problem. The creation of siloed organizations and thought processes is.”
-Rahul Atri, President, OSS BU and Managing Director, Rakuten Symphony India

Telecom operators have been plagued with dwindling ARPUs and underwhelming monetization opportunities with 5G. The key to the problem, Atri said, is how the industry currently operates. With the ever-increasing adoption of AI, there is vast amounts of data ready to be accessed which, unfortunately, lacks consolidation. “Technology is not the problem. The creation of siloed organizations and thought processes is. Everyone sitting here needs to come together and decide how to tackle the problems of the future.”

Having observed how legacy operators work, Rakuten Symphony was quick to focus heavily on automation, knowing that it is a critical component of running cloud-native networks. According to Atri, “We are focused not on the technology itself, but the outcome that implementing the technology brings. It is not about adhering to the industry standards, but the value we as an organization deliver, which makes us unique.”

Rahul Atri sharing his thoughts on future networks and their roadmap to success and monetization
Rahul Atri sharing his thoughts on future networks and their roadmap to success and monetization

According to Atri, “With AI coming in, mindset is key.” He felt that now, there is an increased ease of defining “How”- how you work with AI models, how you implement them, how you achieve certain outputs, remove dashboards, generate insights and actions. In order to build the network of the future, it is important to understand the 'what'.

“What is the success criteria for the network? What does the vendor or software provider want to achieve? What are the use cases which will help the entire ecosystem make money, how can the next software release be taken to market and more importantly, what is the exact problem the customer wants to solve. These are the questions that are critical if you want to deploy networks of the future,” Atri said.

Use cases of Future Networks

Atri emphasized the importance of understanding the use case for future networks, which would then help the orchestration or OSS formulate the best way to convert the use case into configurations of the networks and make the networks available directly.

“Another important part is assurance. We have deployed an edge or a slice, but maintaining and assuring the quality of service (QOS), that is critical,” he said..

“For networks of the future, with flying drones or smart cars connected to each other, connectivity issues are unforgiveable. So, we need to get rid of our habit of focusing on buzzwords and on Day 1. We need to start thinking about Day 2 as well, taking all of the aspects of building and maintaining the network into consideration.”

We are proud to be one of the few companies who are helping change the perception of India, from being an IT and services hub to a product hub for incredible innovations across industries.”

Rakuten Symphony India: The organization’s R&D Hub

Atri closed out the discussion by focusing on the importance of the company’s India operations. With around 65% of the total workforce, the 2 main offices of Indore and Bengaluru are the product R&D centre of Rakuten Symphony. “We are proud to be one of the few companies who are helping change the perception of India, from being an IT and services hub to a product hub for incredible innovations across industries,” he said. Giving a glimpse into some of the projects being undertaken by the India team, Atri said that the team in India is currently working on the challenge of building a platform for autonomous networks and delivering programs such as run-time upgrading of network-wide cloud infrastructure.

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