Called Network 3.0, or Indigo, the proposed program is similar to Domain 2.0, AT&T’s network transformation project, in which the company plans to build off existing tools like its software-defined network (SDN) and its enhanced control orchestration and management platform (ECOMP) but is also looking for input from the industry.
Speaking at AT&T’s Developer Summit, John Donovan, chief strategy officer of AT&T, said the idea behind Indigo is to create a “data-sharing environment.” He promised more details on Indigo will be released in the coming weeks.
In an interview with SDxCentral, Victor Nilson, senior vice president of Big Data for AT&T, said the company envisions Indigo using AT&T’s virtualized network, which can provide API access. It also will be able to take advantage of ECOMP and will incorporate new tools like identity management and policy engine. The Indigo platform will also have infrastructure for storage, compute, and networking.
Nilson noted that today enterprises are good at transporting and collecting data, but when it comes to sharing data with others, it’s nearly impossible. “We have a massive number of applications designed to process data but they are really caged in,” Nilson said. “It’s hard to pull that data out and extract the value of the data systems.”
Nilson even used AT&T as an example. “There are lots of interesting things happening with big data within AT&T. But there is an opportunity to take that to another level and share it with different parties and entities like universities and medical companies,” he said. But that’s not happening because of security concerns and other obstacles. “This stymies trends like machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), which will work better with more data,” he added.
Long term, Nilson envisions Indigo becoming an open source project similar to what is happening with AT&T’s ECOMP. In October AT&T said that ECOMP was being launched into open source by first quarter of 2017 and will be hosted by the Linux Foundation. “This is really about community collaboration on data and we lack that,” he said. “Indigo creates the foundation for that.”
Interestingly Nilson also said there are a number of operators interested in using ECOMP. And he said that there will be more announcements in the future about those operators. So far just Orange and Bell Canada have said they will test ECOMP. “Operators can either write their own [management and orchestration platform], or they can use ECOMP, which is something that is proven and can scale,” Nilson added.