Happy Birthday to AVA: A One-Year Checkup on Nokia’s Cognitive Platform

Paul Rizzuto – Senior Analyst, Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • In the year since Nokia announced its AVA cognitive services platform, the vendor has announced a slew of services leveraging the technology, signaling an intention to incorporate the platform widely.
  • Predictive repair and the MIKA digital assistant represent two such innovations as the result of AVA, but the nature of cognitive platforms asserts the real story is the refinement that follows traction.

It has been a full year since Nokia unveiled AVA, a cognitive platform focused on revolutionizing service delivery via automation, virtualization and analytics (AVA!). At the time, Nokia announced it would adapt the platform to the delivery of care services, network implementation, network performance optimization and managed services. As could be expected, the integration of the platform experienced something of a ramp-up period; Nokia has devoted much of the last year to building services and gaining mindshare around the concept of ‘extreme automation,’ cementing its status as the most vocal vendor in this space. Services launches since, including predictive optimization, predictive repair and the introduction of a digital assistant, MIKA, have all incorporated AVA to some extent. The launches confirm the vendor’s commitment to the AVA platform as a differentiator in service delivery efficiency and make clear that a continuously improving AVA platform will underpin Nokia’s entire services organization.

But, what exactly does AVA do? A few recent service launches provide some insights.

Predictive Repair Ramping Up

Akin to dipping toes in the water, Nokia’s predictive repair, announced January 27, can reportedly predict hardware failures up to 14 days in advance with up to 95% accuracy (albeit strictly with Nokia 3G and 4G equipment). Considering the service’s reliance on Bell Labs machine learning, network, repair center and factory data, this should come as no surprise. The launch is timely; just a few months ago, Ericsson debuted its own solution that attempts to avoid unnecessary site visits. For Nokia, the launch represents a first step for predictive repair. The complexity of hardware installations has bogged down network operators eager to modernize operations, often dealing with solutions from a variety of different vendors. As the industry continues to move toward a software-centric environment with flexible and elastic hardware, professional services capabilities will need to cater to those ideals. Nokia will gain valuable experience adapting the AVA platform to repair solutions on a smaller scale in 2017, but will likely expand the scope of its capabilities before long.

Hey, Siri, OK Google: Meet MIKA?

While MIKA (for ‘Multi-purpose Intuitive Knowledge Assistant’) likely won’t tell telecom-flavored jokes, Nokia too has developed its own digital assistant powered by AVA, with the express purpose of providing automated assistance in network operations centers. The assistant uses an interactive UI and is said to provide an extra hour of productive time daily for engineers – time that can be better spent on higher-level activities. Data sources include the AVA knowledge library as well as a collection of best practices the vendor has gathered from projects worldwide. It’s a flashy use case, but could provide real-world benefits provided the process is seamless.

After wading in carefully with AVA, Nokia has moved full steam ahead with the platform over the past six months. To Nokia’s credit, the vendor recognizes the benefit of such an approach: traction begets further development. And for a platform that relies heavily on predictive analytics, more sources of data can only be a benefit. We can think of this in terms of Google Search: the more people that search using Google’s platform, the more refined the algorithm becomes. Just as MIKA leverages a repository of best practices the vendor has gained over time, the platform will improve as it gains data points, improving efficiencies even further. As the industry collectively looks to shed cost without sacrificing quality, cognitive platforms that self-improve over time will prove crucial to vendor portfolios.

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