CenturyLink's McBride – 'The Secret Sauce Is Automation'

Kelsey Kusterer Ziser

CenturyLink's Kevin McBride says the telecom industry is past the hype cycle for cloud, SDN and NFV and into the actualization period of network virtualization – which is where automation is key.

"We went through the hype cycle of this and we're finally coming down that hill in the whole development cycle that we all live through in technology and getting into actuality," says McBride, principal architect of SDN & NFV technologies at CenturyLink. "It's fun to talk about how we marry NFV and cloud to the network and the secret sauce is automation."

McBride will dive deeper into a discussion on how automation will be foundational to furthering service provider's digital transformations, and to delivering on-demand services to customers at Light Reading's Automation Everywhere event on Wednesday, April 4 in Dallas. In addition to his afternoon keynote, McBride will be speaking on two panels: "Autonomous Network Ingredients -- Maturity and Adoption," and "What Telcos Can Learn about Automation from Other Industries."

"The basics of this transformation is moving to a data-driven network," says McBride. "I want to talk about how automation is gluing together a data-driven network, going into big data and how that is going to accelerate deployments within a carrier or service provider network -- why it's important for us to be at this conference. On top of that, the CenturyLink angle is how automation is going to create this new service platform of digital transformation."

Light Reading is bringing together all of the key players in the automation revolution for the first time at Automation Everywhere on April 4 in Dallas. Join us as we tackle the business and technology challenges behind driving network automation. The event is free for communications service providers -- register today!

In order to continue delivering real-time business services to customers with faster service activation times, McBride says operators have to increase operational agility, time to market with new services and utilize open interfaces. During his keynote, McBride plans to discuss CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL)'s efforts around open interface development, particularly in optical wave services.

"The transformation of the telco infrastructure is like the Amazon, Azure and CenturyLink cloud infrastructures -- exposed API with the ability to consume and write your own services on top of it."

Automation and the adoption of artificial intelligence capabilities will be key to handling network requests -- from both humans and machines -- across CenturyLink's OSS/BSS systems and to providing an on-demand services platform, he adds.

"We know that cloud meets network is going to work and this transformation is occurring and to make it occur correctly we have to have automation on top," continues McBride. "We've always called out orchestration, but it's beyond orchestration. We have to get rid of the human involvement in any decision-making in the network."

To hear Kevin McBride's full keynote in-person, and to learn from and network with speakers at Verizon, Telstra, Windstream, PCCW Global, CableLabs, TM Forum and more, register for Automation Everywhere on April 4 in Dallas here.

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Joe Stanganelli
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/21/2018 | 10:04:17 AM
Lessons from enterprise IT
That second panel in particular sounds compelling; too bad I can't go! Repeatedly in my conversations with both analysts and telco execs, conversations come back to technological challenges that enterprise IT has already figured out and that now carriers are having to deal with on a larger scale -- particularly where digital transformation and virtualization are concerned.
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A CSP's digital transformation involves so much more than technology. Crucial – and often most challenging – is the cultural transformation that goes along with it. As Sigma's Chief Technology Officer, Catherine Michel has extensive experience with technology as she leads the company's entire product portfolio and strategy. But she's also no stranger to merging technology and culture, having taken a company — Tribold — from inception to acquisition (by Sigma in 2013), and she continues to advise service providers on how to drive their own transformations. This impressive female leader and vocal advocate for other women in the industry will join Women in Comms for a live radio show to discuss all things digital transformation, including the cultural transformation that goes along with it.

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