Platforms and repeatable patterns – avoiding fragmentation for a smart world
The ambition behind the award-winning Digital Business Marketplace (DBM) series of Catalysts is to build and demonstrate a business platform-as-a-service for ecosystems. The goal is to deliver agile, frictionless, secure, zero-touch and scalable partner trading for all Industry 4.0 and Smart X scenarios. This fourth phase adds a mining use case, reflecting the critical global need to monitor and manage dangerous waste from the industry.
The premise of the DBM is that every and any telco can become its own marketplace and trade with any other organization frictionlessly (as shown in the diagram below) – not just other members of a specific ecosystem. Professor Geoffrey Parker* noted that “Firms are likely to adopt ‘platform-enabling platform’ technologies that help to create horizontal linkages across vertical businesses. We can expect to see more and more businesses adopting such technology as they digitize global business operations.”
The work done in the DBM Catalyst series is explored (the Type 2 Marketplace) in a new TM Forum white paper,
Software Marketplaces, A new go-to market opportunity for communication service providers (CSPs), published in August 2021. This work examines the approach of extending TM Forum Open Digital Architecture (ODA) standards to deliver digital services-enabling (DSE) outcomes by leveraging a Type 2 Marketplace platform to enable digital partnering and frictionless trading.
This uses a pre-integrated multi-party concept-to-cash platform designed to automate the end-to-end processes for each organization as well as across organizations, based on TM Forum’s Information Framework (SID). It also leverages the Forum’s Open APIs to onboard and orchestrate external systems and services, for example, for rapid onboarding in weeks.
The DBM has defined and deploys industry-agnostic, repeatable patterns for frictionless secure trading.
The platform enables the passing of ownership key vouchers securely, leveraging a plug-and-play secure supply chain, without friction, and can be scaled across any number of organizations. It is cloud-native, uses microservices and is near-zero downtime. Each partner can still package and offer products and services.
The DBM platform acts as the translator, enabling each organization to operate the same way they do normally, so the core systems and APIs work the same way. This ensures, for example, that when an instance of one party’s digital ledger technology subscribes to another party’s event hub, the event hub is always the same. This illustrates why repeatable patterns are at the core of the DBM approach.
The wide applicability of this approach is reflected in the Catalyst’s large, diverse team of teams. It is championed by Amazon Web Services, BT Group, Etisalat, NTT Group, Telenor, and TELUS. Participants are Accenture, Agile Fractal Grid, Beyond by BearingPoint, Digital Twin Consortium, Intuitus Cyber, IoT Lab, IOTA Foundation c/o Nextland, Maxbyte, Mvine, MYCOM OSI, r3, Tantallon, ASA, Ulster University, and the University of Surrey.
Digital Business Marketplace (DBM) – Phase 4 is addressing the ‘missing’ pieces of the solution – certification, autonomous operations and in-life management. This involves complete data lake orchestration and USP1.1.
Industry 4.0 and Smart X solutions need a range of specific products, services and systems for vertical industries but typically they have been developed within projects at multiple companies that are hard to integrate – see the diagram below.
There are complex barriers hindering the vertical smart players establishing themselves so that they can access horizontal infrastructure then scale at will. Previous phases of the Catalyst demonstrated how to remove all manual processes to support zero-touch establishment of IoT devices, as well as in-life versioning and manage patching. The team has tackled how to create a plug-and-play supply chain with devices and systems that should be hard for cyber criminals, plus with milli-second decision-making at the edge.
They have solved frictionless trading and monetization between partners and have provided the tools for product managers to span all these attributes for their vertical smart solutions.
The fourth phase aims to ensure rights and permissions to devices and services, which control how data is exposed to digital twins and AI, can be managed, and appropriately re-configured and monetized in-life by the customer via DBM self-care.
The team is contributing an extension to TM Forum’s ODA with a DSE Articulation which articulates frictionless plug and play trading through repeatable patterns, and the use of Type 2 Marketplaces. It is important to note that principles that underpin the repeatable patterns to deliver against smart X requirements are not negotiable B2B practices, but proposals to replace and deliver any of the plug and play pattern components are welcome.
Phase 4 is exploring five scenarios that collectively further articulate the horizontal blueprint for repeatable patterns that can support any smart X solution – see the infographic below. The smart cities team is looking to deliver smart building solutions as-a-service using digital twins to provide energy efficiency, management and control.
Smart Manufacturing II, extends and tests factory-as-a-service, while autonomous operations, leverage USP1.1 and data lakes to manage permissions across multi-partner sourced digital twin/AI-managed solutions. Ecosystem certification for trust, governance, audit, and compliance is to help ensure success and reduce risk of failure.
Smart Mining is a new safety and sustainability initiative to address the worldwide mining market’s urgent need for transformative, cyber-secure, and collaborative digital solutions.
Co-created with resource industry and leading technology partners, the DBM4 Type II – Business marketplace for smart mining will fast-track the release of digital value through:
In particular, the issue of tailings – mine waste by-products – is critical. There are thousands of tailings sites worldwide, 687 of which are classified as high-risk facilities. They need to be operated, monitored, and secured with digital twin technology as they contain hazardous materials. Poor management, a small seismic shift or extreme weather could result in tailings making the surrounding area unsafe for people and causing environmental damage.
The Smart Mining Digital Tailings Management Technology Framework enables plug-and-play, digitizing trusted traditional technology while introducing new, highly configurable, accurate, and repeatable technologies like satellite, drones, and lasers. Industry studies on the Brumadinho Tailings Dam collapse have proven that satellite-based monitoring techniques may mitigate tailings catastrophes in the future.
Visit this website for more information on this multi-faceted Catalyst series https://dbm4.net/
* Geoffrey Parker, Professor of Engineering at Dartmouth College, Fellow at the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy and co-author of Platform Revolution