TM Forum collaboration projects have worked to provide pragmatic guidance for the implementation of Blockchain, AI, 5G and open digital ecosystems.
TM Forum’s collaborative projects have been focused on providing pragmatic solutions, tools, best practices and guides that focus on the “how” of digital transformation, business agility and managing digital ecosystems. The latest release of outputs from their work sees an AI reference architecture, AI user stories, use cases and maturity model, 5G monetization and network slicing guides, development of key guidance on the Open Digital Architecture (ODA), and a vision for achieving omnichannel customer experience.
Since September 2018, hundreds of individuals from a diverse range of member companies have worked together using TM Forum’s unique collaborative environment in 12 projects to deliver solutions to challenges facing businesses in the digital ecosystem. The results of their work can be seen in 59 documents now available to TM Forum’s global membership, enabling all members to benefit from the new additions and updates to the toolkits, best practices, maturity models, guides and technical reports within their businesses.
As a member, you can download and make use of all the important tools across a broad range of topics. We have outlined the highlights below so you can download and start using them today!
To access our full library of documents, visit the Resources Library section.
If you have any immediate questions, please email us at [email protected]
Release 18.5 Highlights
AI & Data Analytics
TM Forum members are working on an AI reference architecture, which includes developing standard interfaces for operational AI models and standard component structures that define the architectural components used to develop and manage AI models, such as feature databases, model databases, deployment servers and registration databases. The idea is to show how real examples of AI components could be usefully developed and managed.
A detailed information guide, Service management standards for AI, discusses the motivation and drivers for AI management and examines the lifecycle of an AI model from development through to decommissioning a service, presenting best practices in each stage of the lifecycle. It also defines a high-level model for AI management as well as a reference architecture.
The guide has two specific use cases: churn analysis and chatbots, discussing provocative scenarios and looking at challenges and gaps in the current systems and what needs to be updated and supported using AI. The team notes that traditional software development lifecycle methodologies often fall short when it comes to managing AI models. This means it is critical that CSPs and their suppliers develop an agreed-upon framework now for managing the lifecycle of AI models in business applications.
A guide on Artificial Intelligence User Stories & Use Cases is a set of industry agreed, detailed and specific AI user stories and use cases which will help the entire industry focus on the same priorities when it comes to the deployment of AI & ML. It makes use cases visible and accessible from a single repository which includes story maps, use cases, workflow diagram storyboards, sketches and mock-ups, thus saving time when designing and implementing an AI use case.
One of the industry challenges in realizing the potential of AI is the lack of training data. Large pools of data are needed to train AI/ML models, and everyone needs to contribute in a secure fashion. The new AI Data Training Repository is an operational framework for a training repository from hosting, to streaming and handling of the data, performance and access etc. With the addition of data, it will be ready to turn from theory to reality.
The project has also validated and tested a new industry-standard AI maturity model and methodology, aligned with the TM Forum Digital Maturity Model, so that service providers can assess how far along the journey they are in implementing AI in their company, networks and operations.
The potential rewards for developing a digital ecosystem strategy are huge for CSPs, with research showing that key verticals such as industrial automation, remote monitoring, digital health, smart grid, smart city and connected vehicles collectively represent a $1 trillion market by 2023.
For CSPs the biggest challenge may lie in finding a way to use platforms to manage and monetize services that have very different network requirements. Many operators believe the answer is 5G network slicing which can accommodate a wide variety of requirements in terms of bandwidth, latency and availability. 5G deployment is in its infancy but is expected to pick up substantially in the next two to three years. Some of the work released by collaborative project teams addressing this topic include:
- TR276 Introducing 5G Monetization R18.5 describes the main business verticals and use cases enabled by 5G technology. The verticals identified by 5G PPP include automotive, eHealth, energy, factories of the future, media & entertainment, smart home and smart city, and their monetization potential. This third release of the document builds on the prior versions and focuses on the Network Service.
- GB999 5G Network Slicing User Guide R18.5.0 is a snapshot report based on the results of three Catalyst projects focused on 5G and ‘Network as a Service’ that exhibited at TM Forum Digital Transformation World events in Nice and Kuala Lumpur in 2018. Based on an analysis of these projects, an architectural implementation framework was developed for realizing zero-touch management automation.
- IG1176 TOSCA Guide for Model-Driven Automation R18.5.0 uses TOSCA templates to describe the complete commercial, operational and technical (COT) onboarding metadata needed to drive the onboarding processes envisaged in the RN365 Release Notes for IG1141 Procurement and Onboarding Suite R18.0 studies. The focus is on physically related devices realized either as appliance of virtualized applications. These TOSCA best practices can be applied to 5G COT onboarding and will be explored in the forthcoming Skynet 5G Catalyst project at the Digital Transformation World event in May 2019.
IoE & Digital Ecosystems :
The IoE & Digital Ecosystems program is designed to empower members, allowing them to capitalize on the digital revolution and integrate value ecosystems. Through open collaboration, the program is helping to identify and seize business opportunities, as well as develop practical assets enabling a structured, scalable approach to pivoting and commercializing new services.
Several new guides have been released:
- GB1000 Ecosystem Business Concepts & Principles R18.50 outlines the key concepts and principles around ecosystem business. Its purpose is to provide a reference for core ideas and underlying premises and rules for ecosystem business. The concepts and principles expressed here shall be revised from time to time to capture ecosystem business evolution. The document will become a reference for key Ecosystem Business concepts, terms and taxonomy that will be applied to Ecosystem Business architectures.
- TR281 Ecosystem Business Key Themes (Business Scenarios) R18.5.0 contains a set of key ecosystem business themes that identify the breadth of examples that will be further developed into ecosystem business architectures to describe the business motivations, strategic management, key operational requirements and architectural perspectives of the ecosystem. An ecosystem business theme is a grouping of businesses that fall broadly under the ecosystem industry.
- An ecosystem business architecture describes the business motivations, strategic management, key operational requirements and architectural perspectives. TR282A Ecosystem Business Architecture: Smart City – Smoke Detection R18.5.0 describes aspects of a smart city local government in addressing the public safety ecosystem for a specific case of smoke detectors. The business capabilities for this ecosystem architecture will be further explored and standardized across all the business scenarios to create a set of standard capabilities.
Service Providers are interested in leveraging Blockchain technology to assess the potential of moving to Blockchain-style implementations and developing new services that can be considered part of a Blockchain-native business. However, Blockchain is an emerging technology and gaps need to be bridged in the standardization space, which makes interoperability difficult. In some use cases, a service may cross various types of Blockchain platforms, supporting various ecosystems. This makes the work of defining requirements and guidance for touch points vital to help mitigate/eliminate inconsistencies in development and implementation.
IG1175 Trust and Traceability in Digital Ecosystems R18.5.0 addresses Blockchains for telecom, media, e-Game providers, SW creative asset royalties, IPR trust and traceability. Blockchain/Distributed Ledger Technology’s intrinsic characteristics are explored, including collective distributed and decentralized implementation and control, improved trust that is borne by the ecosystem instead of a single trustee, scalability to improve the way the ecosystem works and eliminating the use of any unnecessary intermediary in the ecosystems.
Open Digital Architecture (ODA):
The Open Digital Architecture (ODA) sets a new vision for operational and business support systems, and a standard for the design of open digital platforms. Its ambition is to deliver a model-driven and data-driven architecture that relies on metadata, microservices and a clear set of normalized APIs. ODA offers an industry-agreed blueprint, language and set of key design principles to follow. It provides pragmatic pathways from maintaining monolithic, legacy software solutions, towards managing nimble, cloud-native capabilities that can be orchestrated using AI.
The Open Digital Architecture whitepaper explains how we are uniting the world’s leading service providers and technology suppliers to deliver a new technology architecture and a set of best practices to achieve it. 3 of the key guides were updated:
- IG1167 ODA Functional Architecture R18.5.0 provides a set of structured, implementation-neutral and simplified views for the Information and Systems environment. It is intended to help enterprises looking to become digital to acquire and implement information and systems architectures that meet an industry agreed model.
- IG1171 ODA Component Definition R18.5.0 describes reasons for defining an ODA Component, which stems from the need for an agile approach that encompasses business needs, network structure, and operational challenges.
- TMF071 ODA Terminology R18.5.0 describes reasons for defining an ODA Component, which stems from the need for an agile approach that encompasses business needs, network structure, and operational challenges.
2 new guides were completed:
- IG1174 Model-Driven Design of Management Interfaces for ODA Components R18.5.0 defines common interface elements for the management of ODA components in the context of a platform. The end goal is to facilitate an ecosystem of components that expose common management interfaces and thus significantly reduce the task of managing components.
- IG1177 ODA Intelligence Management Implementation Guide R18.5.0 provides guidance on the implementation of ODA Intelligence Management functionality, and the use of the Decision-making Entities (DE) to execute a design template which includes Governance, Policy, Goals and Ownership principles, exposing the desired Customer Facing Services to ODA Core Commerce Management.
TM Forum Open APIs:
While no new Open APIs were added to the catalog for R18.5 and no big conceptual changes to the business interactions or data models, the project team has fundamentally changed how the APIs and associated artefacts are constructed from the ground-up. This has created a step-change in quality and consistency of the APIs, and for all TM Forum Open-APIs released from this point on.
The work for R18.5 focused on the service-layer as a result of the “Network as a Service” concept and Component Suite (the APIs involved in the lifecycle of a technical service) spearheaded by Telstra. This update includes new releases for Service Catalog, Service Qualification, Service Test, Service Ordering, Service Problem, Service Inventory, Service Activation & Configuration and Usage Consumption.
TM Forum’s core frameworks continue to evolve, bringing in the latest work from its member-driven collaboration programs and integrating it with the established Business Process Framework (eTOM), Information Framework (SID), and Application Framework (TAM) models and best practices to ensure they continue to remain at the forefront of digital business transformation. This includes a refresh of the established training courses to ensure they remain fully up-to-date with the latest uses of Frameworx for transformation to propel agile digital businesses.
Customer experience is a key differentiator for service providers as excellent network and service quality becomes wide spread, and product offerings become similar across all providers. The key to leveraging this differentiation to maintain a strong customer base and sustain revenues is to deliver a consistent and personalized experience to customers across all channels.
The ultimate customer experience is one that is completely seamless across all channels regardless of how the interaction started, which channels it traversed, and how it is completed. While this is in line with previous thinking around customer experience, the focus is shift from a “nice to have” to a “must have”. To enable this best all-round experience across all channels of experience, digital service provides (DSPs) must ensure user journeys that offer collaborative partner services – like “pay by mobile” or a “grass mower as a service” – in a seamless and customized manner. IG1183 Omni Channel CEM Guideline What Customers Will Expect By 2025 R18.50 introduces the key imperatives for omnichannel implementation as well as a definition of the operational functions needed to successfully create an omnichannel experience for customers.
If you have any immediate questions, please email us at [email protected]