Zero Touch NSM project aims to automate network and service management

Credit: Thawatchai Thandee /

Over a dozen telcos and vendors have agreed to participate a cross-industry project called Zero Touch NSM to analyze and evaluate the current challenges associated with network and service management (NSM).

The three-month project will run from March to June 2017 with the objective of gaining a better understanding of how NSM needs to be improved, with the ultimate goal being automated network management.

Companies participating in the Zero Touch NSM project include Amdocs, China Mobile, Ciena, Deutsche Telekom, Dell EMC, Ericsson, HPE, Huawei, IBM, Intel, Infosim, NEC/Netcracker, Nokia, Orchestral Networks, Telefonica and Viavi Solutions.

“Automation is the future of network management,” said Dr. Kim Kyllesbech Larsen, SVP Technology Economics & Transformation at Deutsche Telekom. “As an industry, it is essential that we come together to find a solution to the issues that are hindering the automation of operations and NSM functionalities.”

The project views NSM automation as a key industry issue because SDN and NFV are already having an enormous impact on network operations today. For instance, there are IoT-based networks with massive numbers of devices, network behavior is going from static to dynamic, and customers are continue to expect an improved level of communication experience.

To unleash the benefits of virtualization and software defined technologies, while increasing the efficiency of network operations, the industry must enhance NSM network automation, according to a project statement. Developments in edge computing, low latency networks, artificial intelligence and machine learning offer additional benefits that again can only be realized with NSM automation.

And of course, the coming introduction of 5G further raises the stakes.

“The evolution of network and control technology will enable more flexibility in service creation, capacity and change management as well as more efficient network operations,” said Arash Ashouriha, SVP of Group OSS Strategy & Architecture at Deutsche Telekom. “This also adds more complexity to networks, particularly in the area of NSM. To offset this complexity, our industry needs to ensure all NSM functions are based on open standardized solutions.”

The goal of Zero Touch NSM is to deliver a concrete guidance proposal to the industry on how this capability can be improved. The outcome is also expected to have an impact on network operations in the 5G era.

Another important enabler for NSM is harmonizing standards approaches regarding information modeling across TM Forum, ONF, MEF and other standards development organizations. Zero Touch NSM will be supported by a related initiative established to analyze and resolve the challenges associated with a common information model.

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