5G industry news Telecommunications Tech | Backhaul

5G needs plug-and-play software

  • 3 minute read
  • Published by Elizabeth Coyne on 2 Dec 2020
  • Last modified 2 Dec 2020
This week the UK government fully embraced Open RAN as a way to nudge its mobile operators to diversify the 5G supply chain. Not only did it put £250 million behind the cause, but it also set out a path toward blocking what it calls “high-risk vendors” and attracting new suppliers into the UK market as way to accelerate the development and deployment of open-interface solutions.

At the same time, industry standards organization, TM Forum kicked off an initiative to build a market for plug-and-play software components that are essential to developing multi-vendor IT network systems, rolling out new services and reducing costs for communications service providers (CSPs).

The initiative is a top priority for the Forum – and is now close to reality as 10 of its members began collaborating to build a test platform for its Open Digital Architecture (ODA).

Accenture, Axiata Digital Labs, Global Wavenet, Globetom, Oracle Communications, Orange, SigScale, Sysbiz Technologies, Vodafone and Whale Cloud are all committed to this new ODA Component Accelerator project, which will follow a similar structure and methodology to the Forum’s renowned Catalyst proof-of-concept projects.

ODA-compliant components are interoperable software building blocks that run service provider businesses, enabling the industry to invest in IT for new and differentiated services instead of maintaining customized legacy code and interfaces. The project underpins the Forum’s continuing drive to create practical, machine-readable assets for its members.

The new test platform’s roots stem from one of TM Forum’s award-winning Catalyst projects called BOS – an implementation of ODA Core Commerce Management, which implemented a Business Operating System that allows CSPs to focus on innovation instead of integration issues. The evolution from proof of concept to test platform to a market for standardized interoperable software components exemplifies the importance of collaboration in accelerating innovation and developing best practices and standards.

George Glass, Chief Technology Officer, TM Forum, says, “An important part of our commitment to enabling the ODA is providing the means by which CSPs can validate and standardize their software components in a neutral third-party test environment. The output from the ODA Component Accelerator project will increase CSPs’ ability to quickly deploy multi-vendor IT and network systems, enabling them to accelerate delivery of new services while dramatically reducing software procurement and integration costs.”

In addition to major vendors such as Oracle Communications and system integrators like Accenture, the project is also supported by Orange and Vodafone which both realize the importance of the project when it comes to building out future networks and IT systems.

Laurent Leboucher, Vice President Digital IT, Customer Relations and Global Architecture, Orange, notes that the ODA Component Accelerator “will help to reduce the integration burden, to improve time to market, and simplify procurement,” which is exactly the goal the UK government is aiming to achieve with its Open RAN initiative.

Carlos Valero, Global Director of IT Strategy and Architecture, Vodafone, echoed Leboucher’s comment by saying, “The ODA Component Accelerator provides a much-needed neutral sandbox environment where CSPs and solutions suppliers alike can come together and work to build the market for software components needed to manage and operate our future IT and network systems. In addition to helping CSPs understand the best approach to building out their cloud native IT, the ODA Component Accelerator will also help shape current and future R&D.”

Read more about the ODA Component Accelerator project in the press release here. To get involved in the project email accelerator@tmforum.org