Dynamic Connectivity and Commerce Enabled by MEF 3.0 and Blockchain

Nov 21, 2019 | Blog

Overview

This Proof of Concept (PoC) demonstrated the combined use of MEF LSO Sonata standardized API’s and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) /Blockchain to automate the end-to-end Quote to Cash process for multi-carrier On-Demand Connectivity services.

The PoC is a continuation of the award-winning MEF18 Fulfillment and Activation PoC. It leverages the MEF LSO 3.0 capabilities to achieve an automated and assured orchestration of MEF services across multiple operators’ production networks. In addition to what was demonstrated in previous years, this iteration of the PoC adds the use of DLT/Blockchain technology to automate inter-carriers settlement and billing processes, which replaces current labor-intensive, error-prone manual processes. The PoC demonstartes how standardization of the architecture, data properties, and open APIs can mitigate against vendor lock-in. 

 

The Challenge 

Enterprises and their employees need on-demand Inter-Party ICT Services to compete in the increasingly agile, global business environment. In the current age of digital experience enterprises expect network services to be truly dynamic both from bandwidth and real/near-real time availability  perspective. Enterprise largescale shift to Multi-Cloud IT environments is driving the demand for automation that supports negotiation of inter-carrier connectivity services connecting globally distributed corporate sites and clouds. To meet these needs, carriers are partnering with cloud and other service providers to offer a truly global service, both for connectivity, Bandwidth on Demand and value-added services. Not only does the service provider need to automate their own On-Net service delivery processes, they also need to automate the way they buy and sell services to/from other service providers. The current manual mode of operation for inter-carrier negotiation is unsustainable. It cannot support real-time, autonomous negotiation of Inter-Party Connectivity and wider Enterprise needs for Multi-Cloud and later Hyper Automation.

The Solution

The MEF19 PoC builds on and extends the MEF LSO Sonata implementation work of the award-winning MEF18 F&A PoC, adding support for settlement and billing based on DLT/Blockchain technology. Using DLT/Blockchain all transactions are written to a trusted distributed ledger, including penalties arising from SLA violations, as well as the high-volume, dynamic and temporal nature of future Inter-Party Services, such as IoT, network slicing, etc.

The diagram above shows the MEF19 PoC topology. Four service providers, TATA Communications, Sparkle, PCCW, and Colt, ordered services between each other to provide an on-demand service across the USA, UK, and Hong Kong. LSO Sonata is implemented by each provider’s internal system and a Sonata API is exposed for use with the partner providers. Settlement and reconciliation are carried out using a distributed ledger. Each transaction is registered, reconciled and written to a shared ledger automatically, providing a trusted settlement of business between the parties.

The Value Amartus Provides

Amartus provides the MEF LSO Sonata compliant Inter-Party Business Automation software component & APIs service providers need to negotiate inter-carrier services with partners (Quote to Cash). This has been extended for the MEF19 with settlement & billing functions based on DLT/Blockchain technologies. This solution is also an early demonstration of the capabilities targeted by the recently formed Global Leadership (GLF) Carrier Blockchain Network (CBN), which Amartus is a member of.

Amartus’ deep MEF knowledge and contributions, combined with more recent participation in the GLF CBN architecture means that we are uniquely positioned as a partner of choice for service providers to shape the future direction of inter-party business automation.