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DTW23-Ignite: TM Forum honors 6 Excellence Awards recipients and a Distinguished Engineer

Dawn BushausDawn Bushaus
20 Sep 2023
DTW23-Ignite: TM Forum honors 6 Excellence Awards recipients and a Distinguished Engineer

DTW23-Ignite: TM Forum honors 6 Excellence Awards recipients and a Distinguished Engineer

TM Forum presented six TM Forum Excellence Awards and a Distinguished Engineer Award to communications service providers (CSPs) and their partners at a gala Tuesday evening during TM Forum’s DTW23-Ignite event in Copenhagen.

Excellence Award winners were selected from nearly 200 submissions from more than 70 companies.

A panel of 26 independent industry experts evaluated all the submissions, selecting 36 finalists after two rounds of judging across the categories of autonomous operations, customer experience, people & planet, IT agility, market innovation and network agility. The winners’ solutions are described below.

“TM Forum’s Excellence Awards celebrate successful trailblazers in telecom and tech,” said Camille Mendler, Chief Analyst at Omdia and Head External Judge. “This year, the high quality and diversity of entries really challenged the judging panel.”

People & Planet

This award recognizes companies for the successful application of new technologies and innovative solutions to improve people’s lives, enhance our societies and/or protect our environment.

  • Winner: Optiva & lifecell – Supporting connectivity, the lifeblood of daily life, with expanded protection in dangerous times

lifecell, a mobile operator in Ukraine, urgently needed to quickly and securely implement a self-managed disaster recovery (DR) strategy to ensure the continuity of its operations because the existing DR site was near the frontline of the war. In addition, 60% of lifecell’s employees were forced to move from their original work locations, so the ability to operate and maintain these systems was at risk. The operator worked with Optiva to set up new DR sites in just six weeks at a new and safer location in Ukraine and also outside national borders, including full replication of the customer database. This ensured reliable and consistent connectivity services.

Trust, transparency, always-on connectivity and real-time information are critical, so lifecell relied on TM Forum’s Customer Centricity Toolkit. In addition, the Open Digital Framework was applied for the launch of new 5G services – one of the key elements for lifecell is the availability of 5G support from its business support system (BSS) stack, provided by Optiva. The companies also used the Connectivity-as-a-Service Toolkit as a reference along with the Business Assurance Toolkit.

Autonomous Operations

This award recognizes companies for innovation and excellence in intent-based closed loop automation of network and/or IT operations through the application of AI and machine learning.

  • Winner: China Unicom – Intelligent network operation based on AI knowledge graph

Today, knowledge acquisition relies heavily on human experience, which makes it time-consuming and highly variable. To improve efficiency and fault handling, China Unicom is cooperating with its network suppliers to develop and deploy an intelligent fault management tool using AI knowledge graph technology. This is helping the company deploy Autonomous Networks.

China Unicom relied on TM Forum’s Autonomous Networks Framework (IG1218), Intent in Autonomous Networks (IG1253) and Open APIs to define the overall solution roadmap and functional architecture. The results are encouraging. With mobile network cross-domain fault handling, for example, it used to take at least two months to summarize expert experience using manual processes. Now, it takes just two to four weeks. In addition, while it previously took about 45 minutes for an experienced engineer to deal with a 5G network problem, using knowledge graph technology, most problems can be identified and analyzed automatically, shortening the average time to resolution to just 15 minutes.

Customer Experience

This award recognizes companies for excellence in the application of data, AI and customer journey innovation to deliver personalized, differentiated experiences for consumers and/or enterprise customers.

  • Winner: Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) – VNPT customer experience transformation model

This award recognizes companies for delivering an outstanding IT transformation project to increase business agility through system and process innovation based on open standards.

VNPT in Vietnam has carried out customer experience (CX) transformation in two phases. From 2017 to 2021, the company researched its approach, and in 2021 it applied a program to improve CX. Some of VNPT’s main challenges were that it had no model for implementing CX programs developed at the group into individual divisions, and the company’s human resources department lacked the necessary skills and in-depth knowledge about CX.

VNPT relied on TM Forum’s Customer Experience Maturity Model (CEMM), using Agile methodology to achieve quick results, then learn from the experience, replicate it in other areas and improve. In just one year from 2021 to 2022, the company’s CX maturity score increased by more than 20%, and it has set even higher targets. Other measures also show huge improvement: A 2022 KPMG report ranked the company 18th for customer service in Vietnam, up from 60th place in 2021.

IT Agility

  • Winner: Telstra – IT transformation through system and process innovation using TM Forum Service Management APIs

This award recognizes companies for pioneering B2B2X business models, and/or ecosystem partnerships, using advanced communications and other novel technologies to deliver growth in new markets.

Telstra completely transformed its mobile service assurance systems and processes using TM Forum’s service management APIs hosted on Telstra’s network-as-a-service (NaaS) platform which services three customer segments: consumer, business and wholesale. Telstra’s new Service Assurance Manager (SAM) was fully developed in-house by the company’s Intelligent Network Automation (INA) group and now services more than 28 million subscribers.

Telstra’s legacy service assurance system was more than 30 years old. The application was hosted in a client server configuration and customer care agents receiving calls from customers had to “swivel chair” and typically spent more than 25 minutes reviewing multiple screens to resolve customers’ issues. Now, customer relationship managements with direct access to the service testing and problem resolution APIs spend less than 3 minutes diagnosing issues and applying fixes. This represents more than 700% improvement in turnaround time.

Market Innovation

This award recognizes companies for pioneering B2B2X business models, and/or ecosystem partnerships, using advanced communications and other novel technologies to deliver growth in new markets.

  • Winner: China Mobile & Huawei – “Value First Network as a Service” creates sustainable business growth

China Mobile’s Value First NaaS offering targets the Zhejiang province, which has an annual GDP of $1.14 trillion and is home to 54,000 diverse industrial enterprises. The solution allows businesses to order ICT services directly from an online 5G marketplace. China Mobile relied on several TM Forum assets to create it including the Experience Metrics for 5G Use Cases Guidebook (GB1010), Nine Open APIs, the Business Value Assessment and Visiualization using Value Operations Framework (IG1292) and the CEM Lifecycle Model (GB962C).

Results have been impressive, with service provisioning time reduced from 36 days to 1 hour and the time it takes to create a tailored SLA-monitoring portal down to just 32 mins from two days. The marketplace is being used to help two large hospitals in Hangzhou, China, connect ambulances with 5G and virtual reality (VR) technology, to provide secure 5G connectivity between clean power generation facilities like photovoltaic modules and wind farms to electricity grid transmission and storage facilities, and to deliver 5G network slicing with lightweight cameras to enable remote AI-driven quality inspection of production lines, removing the need for shop-floor manual inspection.

Network Agility

This award recognizes companies for leadership in deploying next generation network software architectures utilizing cloud native approaches based on open standards.

  • Winner: Whale Cloud & China Unicom – An operation mode change by building the world's largest centralized network resource center

China Unicom has used the TM Forum Open Digital Architecture (ODA) and Process Framework to establish what it calls the world’s largest centralized network resources center. The project transformed 30 siloed legacy systems, allowing China Unicom to combine network data in a centralized data lake.

The use of big data, cloud computing and a microservices architecture has improved efficiency and reduced costs substantially, while end-to-end management of network resources speeds deployment of new products. The new architecture is ten times more efficient and is capable of parsing 1.3 billion pieces of data daily. China Unicom's network resources are now 100% digitally managed, and resource data precision has improved by 30%.

“I’d like to congratulate every winner of the 2023 Excellence Awards,” said Nik Willetts, CEO of TM Forum. “Each project has demonstrated the power of industry co-creation to unlock the most valuable digital transformation plays, capturing the spirit of DTW23 - Ignite perfectly. Our independent, impartial judging panel has done a great job once again in recognizing outstanding work that is driving our industry’s evolution forward.”

Distinguished Engineer

Ericsson’s Jörg Niemöller received the Distinguished Engineer award, which recognizes individuals who have made a sustained, positive impact on the industry through use and implementation of TM Forum best practices and standards.

A long-time TM Forum member and serial Catalyst participant, Niemöller is Co-Chair of the Autonomous Networks Project. He is the driving force behind the introduction and development of intent within TM Forum and across the telecoms industry. He has authored, edited and delivered more than 30 TM Forum assets relating to the intent models, the TM Forum Intent Ontology (TIO) and the TMF921 Intent API.

For the complete list of this year’s finalists, visit: Excellence Awards Finalist 2023 – TM Forum