PARTNER INTERVIEW: ZTE VP of Big Data and Service Products Wang Qiang (pictured) outlines how its next-generation intelligent big data platform, driven by AI and big data, can estimate network performance and service quality as well as predict the total cost of operations and network hazards.

Mobile World Live: What are the key drivers behind the most recent upgrade to your next-generation intelligent big data platform VMAX?
Wang Qiang: As 5G is deployed widely, a vast range of application scenarios is being developed and improved. Various industries are embracing 5G and other new technologies to try to gain competitive advantage in the digital era. But at the same time, operators also face some core challenges.

First, operators’ role is to provide a first-class service experience for customers. And In the 5G era, deterministic and real-time service experience assurance become the top priority. Second, in a complex competitive environment making accurate investment decisions is extremely important to improve network service quality efficiently with limited budgets.

In addition, dealing with the growing challenges of network complexity and diversity, and how to control the overall total cost of ownership (TCO) are critical to business success.

Based on these pain points and drivers, we introduced the new-generation intelligent big data platform VMAX, which combines with the latest ICT technologies to support customers to achieve deterministic service experience guarantee, generate service revenue and increase operational efficiency.

How can it help operators avoid being stuck in the traditional pipe-based business model?
VMAX has a five-dimensional perception model, providing real-time insights into customer experience, service quality, network performance, cost efficiency and business development strategy to support efficient service operation. In this way, operation restrictions caused by invisible and opaque pipelines in traditional modes can be overcome.

VMAX offers more than 150 algorithms and can identify more than 18,000 types of apps. It helps to fulfil the need for a consistent and seamless experience across all dimensions, such as location, service type and quality, incident and network node.

Its one-stop insight capability enables:
• Network capacity, coverage and performance to be fully visualised. Through data mining and analysis, VMAX can automatically identify poor-quality network elements and cells, valuable areas, and intelligently predict network capacity and performance trends.
• End-to-end analysis of voice and data services to allow visualisation of various services and implementation of data and capability openness through open APIs.
• A satisfaction identification system based on user perception to identify valuable users and unsatisfied users, and to form an all-round user profile, providing proactive service guarantees and precise marketing supporting.

What are the primary benefits and some of practical applications?
The next-generation digital transformation platform is driven by big data and AI technologies, and can help operators build a high-level autonomous network with cross-domain support, which accelerates operational efficiency.

To balance network spending and quality of service, ZTE developed a perception-driven, intent-based network planning function. With the intent engine, operators only need to give inputs about behaviour or objectives from a services point of view. VMAX then translates those into service intent and generate network planning suggestions accurately with minimal intervention.

VMAX supports cross-domain service self-healing using AI self-learning technologies to find the root cause of service problems and customer complaints in minutes with more than 80 per cent accuracy. Through visualised AI model training, VMAX can predict abnormal services and execute automated diagnosis and recovery before it impacts customers.

In one project, ZTE’s VMAX platform helped the operator improve the complaint handling efficiency by 16 per cent and operational efficiency by more than 30 per cent.

Relying on the capabilities of OSS/BSS data integration and AI engine, VMAX builds unified user profiles, accurate internet content identification and flexible data service to achieve real-time precise marketing to promote growth. In one project aimed a high ARPU users, ZTE’s VMAX platform helped one operator reach a marketing conversion rate of more than 10 per cent.

In what ways does it complement ZTE’s autonomous networks portfolio?
ZTE’s Autonomous Networks solution is part of our uSmartNet platform, which covers three levels: network element endogenous, single-domain autonomous and cross-domain collaborative. The VMAX platform is the core product for cross-domain coordination.

We offer single solutions for various network domains, including wireless, core and wireline. At the same time, our AI training and reasoning platform provides ubiquitous AI support at different levels.

How does the network planning function enable operators to reduce network construction costs?
With the implementation of hybrid 4G and 5G network infrastructure, the complexity of the network is increased rapidly, requiring higher-precision evaluation and planning technology. The VMAX planning solution uses high-precision 3D positioning technology to implement accurate evaluation of network hotspots and coverage, and precise planning of site locations and parameters.

In a practical case, by predicting 5G coverage and removing redundant cells, a planned site was simplified by 28 per cent compared with the initial proposal, reaching the customer’s 5G coverage target and service experience requirements.

Thanks to advanced machine-learning techniques, a precise planning outcome can be achieved with just two iterations. And by applying intent to network planning, we can significantly increase planning efficiency, improving site accuracy by 30 per cent and reducing costs by 10 per cent.

How does it break through data silos, transforming legacy single-domain operations into all-domain systems?
VMAX builds a unified data platform to achieve a common source. The bottom layer of the platform adopts mainstream big data technology and supports all formats of data. Unified collection, storage and scheduling not only solve the data barriers in data silos, but also greatly reduces system construction costs and is able to converge massive data.

VMAX incorporates the data governance system with the metadata management centre as the core to achieve unified governance and unified development to transform legacy single-domain operations into all-domain systems.