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So why the excitement about digital twin now?

Digital twins in telecommunications is still at an early stage of maturity. The intent of this report is to encourage both CSPs and vendors to investigate and deploy digital twins. Digital twins can address the massively increased complexity of software defined networks and 5G. These networks have order of magnitude more parameters and are very dynamic making them harder to characterize. The ability to model and simulate complex networks will allow automation of existing network optimization processes and increased agility for these processes. For example, planning and capacity management processes can become proactive, aligned with service growth and occurring on an iterative basis. Current processes are offline static processes with reactive management of capacity and reliant on individual experts. All of this will have direct impact on the capital and operational costs of CSPs

Digital twins can support CSPs in promoting the usage of new technology in adjacent industries. 5G promises much to adjacent industries. However, in the absence of real networks and conservative non telco cultures in these industries the case is often not made. Digital twins can better prove adjacent industry use cases.

Many of the underlying components of a digital twin are already present in telecoms networks today. However, today’s levels of capability in the cloud (computing and storage infrastructure.) enable data capture, data processing, data analytics, simulation and AI based inference at a completely different scale than was possible before. These capabilities fundamentally change the ability of telcos to automate; moving offline manual processes to online automated processes. Replacing or more importantly scaling the expertise held in people’s heads to support agile and new optimization processes.

The underlying concepts for digital twins are covered in existing research by Appledore including Inventory; Closed Loop Automation; Rapid Automated Service Assurance (RASA), AI/ML, and Orchestration. In this report we bring these together, explaining how Telecommunications can best gain from adopting digital twins.

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Francis Haysom

18-06-2020

22

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