Blue Planet OSS lets you BYO AI

  • Telcos can use Blue Planet’s own AI engine with the new Cloud Native Platform for OSS, or plug in third-party AI, potentially unlocking new levels of automation

  • Kubernetes support provides cross-cloud portability, to move workloads between cloud platforms and on-premises, and scale up and down as needed

  • A common data model lets telcos share data between OSS modules from Blue Planet and other standards-compliant vendors

With its recently launched Cloud Native Platform for OSS, Blue Planet seeks to give telco back offices an AI boost for improved agility and business value. And the platform doesn’t just support AI from Blue Planet; telcos can plug in third-party AIs or their own as well. 

AI is in early days with OSS, now being used to solve specific point problems, Kailem Anderson, Blue Planet VP global products and delivery, told Fierce Network. It’s being used in predictive analytics, failure prediction, and to solve problems such as cross-layer switching. Vendors enable AI in their own products. 

But AI is evolving to be more open and usable for a broader range of use cases, particularly with the advent of generative AI (genAI). Telcos and vendors are experimenting to create text- and voice-based queries, Anderson said.

For example, in the future, a NOC operator might arrive in the morning and get a daily dashboard of the previous six weeks of activity of order fallout for mobile services, compared with the overall six-week average.

“We’re seeing a lot of experimenting on AI being used to drive optimization in the NOC by putting power in the hands of operators to create queries themselves to run the business,” Anderson said. 

AvidThink analyst Roy Chua agreed that telco AI is still in early days, but has great potential. Operationally, telcos are using AI and machine learning (ML) in assurance and some root-cause analysis, and telcos are very early in trying AI for closed-loop assurance systems, automated network planning and optimization.

Eventually, AI could be used for fully autonomous networks. “Like self-driving cars, it’s a ways away yet,” Chua said. This fully autonomous network (we at Fierce call that a “smart cloud”) would use a variety of AI and machine learning types, including Generative AI and more traditional predictive systems.

The new platform’s cloud-native architecture is also a big deal. The platform supports all different flavors of Kubernetes and runs on Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, Red Hat OpenShift and Wind River. 

“We’re delivery-model agnostic. You can deploy on the cloud of your choice. We’ve tested and validated and we’re certified; you can consume it on any cloud, public or private,” Anderson said.  

Blue Planet’s customers led the way to cloud-native architecture, Anderson said.

“Our customers brought us there,” he said. “85% of our deployments are on the public cloud. Customers want to choose their own cloud and cloud-native architecture.”

Blue Planet’s cloud support dates back 18 months. However, customers were previously deploying in virtual machines (VMs), not getting the elasticity, scalability and cross-cloud portability that Kubernetes provides, Anderson said. 

This month’s launch also includes a converged data model, which enables data sharing across inventory, orchestration and assurance applications from Blue Planet and other standards-compliant platforms. Blue Planet supports APIs from the TM Forum, MEF and 3GPP, as well as its own APIs. 

The architecture puts extra polish on the vendor’s reputation as the leading provider of cloud-native OSS. But that reputation may not reflect the reality of whether Blue Planet is the best option for telcos looking polish up their back office.

Can Blue Planet deliver?

The new platform, introduced this month, potentially enables superior flexibility, uptime and streamlined operations by running on Kubernetes and supporting any and all clouds. But Blue Planet needs to deliver on its promises, and competing OSS and BSS vendors are working on their own cloud-native and micro-services architecture, Chua said. 

Blue Planet has made multi-cloud OSS deployment easier and more turnkey, Chua said. But Blue Planet’s lead will be difficult to translate to customer advantage because “OSS deployments always require a significant amount of customization,” Chua said. 

And competitors Amdocs and Netcracker are working hard on refactoring their OSS platforms to cloud-native architecture, Chua said. Those vendors will be able to “close that gap in a relatively short time,” the analyst said. 

Cloud-native architecture is only one factor for telcos considering OSS platforms. These service providers should also consider ease and speed of integration with their existing systems and the cost of ongoing operations. Feature richness is also a major factor for telcos choosing OSS and BSS, and that factor can be hard to differentiate because vendors are highly competitive and because of individual telcos' customization requirements. 

Blue Planet’s multicloud support, if executed well, can help telcos deploy flexibly. In-Service Software Upgrade (ISSU) support can help maintain uptime. And a shared user interface between modules would help streamline operations, Chua said.