Arvind Khurana from Nokia on How CSPs are Leveraging GenAI in their Services

Explore how CSPs can leverage automation, AI, and GenAI to enhance 5G services, drive innovation, and overcome industry challenges in this insightful Nokia interview.

Punam Singh
New Update
arvind khurana, Nokia

Arvind Khurana, Regional VP & Country Head for Cloud and Network Services, Nokia India

Communication Service Providers (CSPs) keep facing challenges to stay ahead by streamlining operations, seizing new revenue opportunities, and transforming customer experiences in the dynamic and rapidly evolving telecom industry. Arvind, a leading expert at Nokia, has shed light on the emerging trends that are shaping the telecom landscape and how CSPs can leverage advancements such as automation, network slicing, artificial intelligence (AI), and Generative AI (GenAI) to enhance their services and drive innovation. 


In this exclusive interview, Arvind discusses the strategic imperatives for CSPs, innovative monetization models enabled by 5G infrastructure, the transformative potential of APIs, the cross-industry impact of telecom advancements, and the crucial role of GenAI in enhancing network security and transitioning to cloud-native architectures. Join us as we delve into how Nokia is guiding CSPs toward achieving autonomous networks and unlocking new levels of efficiency, productivity, and customer satisfaction.


DQ: What emerging trends are shaping the telecom industry?


Arvind: The telecom industry is changing rapidly, compelling Communication Service Providers (CSPs) to shape their business strategies around three primary objectives: streamlining operations to achieve cost savings, seizing new revenue opportunities, and transforming the customer experience. At Nokia, we recognize the critical importance of enabling CSPs to empower their networks to sense, think, and act. Therefore, we are actively guiding CSPs to invest in automation, network slicing, and artificial intelligence (AI).

CSPs have unique requirements when automating their networks, which depend on their cloud-native maturity. Based on our deep understanding of software and networks, we are helping them in their network automation journey. The initial step towards achieving autonomous operations involves integrating automation throughout the network, spanning from infrastructure and network operations to service delivery. Network slicing represents the subsequent goal for CSPs, as it has the potential to revolutionize their operations by dividing network infrastructure into multiple virtual networks tailored to specific enterprise needs. This approach enables CSPs to offer differentiated services with varying levels of bandwidth, latency, and security, thereby tapping into new revenue streams. The third area of focus for CSPs is leveraging AI to harness the vast amounts of network-generated data, enabling valuable insights for optimizing costs and enhancing customer experiences. AI and machine learning algorithms can forecast and prevent network outages, detect security threats, and support proactive maintenance. On a broader scale, Generative AI (GenAI) is rapidly evolving. Nokia, a leader in Telco AI, is excited about GenAI's potential to drive cost reductions, unlock new revenue opportunities, and elevate customer satisfaction.

DQ: How can CSPs leverage 5G infrastructure to create innovative monetization models? What are the key use cases that allow them to move “beyond connectivity”?


Arvind: CSPs have made significant investments in 5G and now seek ROI to realize their investments. To achieve this, they require the capability to abstract essential network functionalities and make them available to developers for monetization. Nokia facilitates this process through our Network as Code platform with a developer portal which simplifies network capabilities into software code that developers can easily integrate into applications. To support CSPs in expanding beyond traditional connectivity services, we launched this platform and developer portal late last year. Already, we have 13 collaboration agreements with CSPs and other ecosystem partners around the world, including BT, DISH, Google, NOS Portugal, Orange, Telia, and Telecom Argentina.

Nokia’s Network as Code platform with developer portal brings together networks, systems integrators, and software developers, into a unified ecosystem that provides developers a simple way to integrate advanced 5G capabilities into their applications; without having to navigate the complexity of the underlying network technologies.

DQ: APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) play a crucial role in enabling seamless integration and innovation. How can CSPs harness the API economy to enhance their 5G offerings? What are the potential benefits and challenges? 


Arvind: There is considerable excitement and activity surrounding Network and Telecom APIs, driven by their potential to innovate and monetize the capabilities of 5G-era networks. And you can see the mind shift in all the standards work that has been achieved over the past year, with GSMA Open Gateway Initiative and the Linux Foundation CAMARA program. There is no question we are seeing a new level of openness unlike any other time before. This is because 5G-era networks are rich in capabilities – like improving network quality on demand – that can really make a difference to enterprises and consumers; and in ways that were not possible years ago. 5G-era networks are fundamentally software-based – a step change from how networks were designed years ago – which means they are programmable by nature. We are no longer trying to open up hardware-centric networks that were never designed to be open to programmability.

It's crucial to recognize that no single company can accomplish this alone; it requires an ecosystem of collaborative efforts. Developers must articulate their needs, while CSPs must develop systems and platforms to support these demands. Infrastructure vendors also have a pivotal role to play, leveraging networks as code platforms to simplify access to network APIs. These platforms act as bridges, facilitating enhanced collaboration, innovation, and mutual growth, thereby enabling everyone to harness the full potential of 5G networks.

DQ: How can the latest advances in the telecommunication sector be leveraged for advancement in other industries?


Arvind: Our Network as Code platform embodies our strategic commitment to drive new business models and unleash the full potential of networks in terms of innovation, sustainability, and productivity. It empowers developers and CSPs to expedite the creation of software applications for enterprises, industrial entities, and consumers, while also monetizing the assets of 5G and 4G networks beyond traditional connectivity.

As already noted, earlier this month, Nokia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Gati Shakti Vishwavidyalaya (GSV) under Indian Railways. The collaboration has a research focus specifically on leveraging Nokia’s Network as Code platform with a developer portal and digital twins for transportation and logistics sectors, fiber sensing and AI, and optical network planning. 

DQ: How can GenAI be leveraged by CSPs to enhance their 5G services?


Arvind: The emergence of Generative AI (GenAI) and Large Language Models (LLMs) signifies the onset of the ‘knowledge’ era, where the ability to extract and utilize knowledge becomes pivotal for advancing 5G services. Our AI strategy is geared towards transforming CSPs into highly automated Digital Service Providers. It envisions a future network capable of "Sensing", "Thinking", and "Acting" through observability, AI, and automation.

GenAI plays a critical role in this vision of an autonomous network, serving as an AI assistant for intricate, non-real-time automation tasks. Additionally, traditional AI, causal AI, and Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning (MARL) technologies contribute to realizing various aspects of an autonomous network. Traditional AI demonstrates proficiency in learning from structured data through methods like time series analysis. In contrast, Generative AI (GenAI), powered by large-scale transformer-based neural networks, specializes in handling unstructured data and natural language processing. By leveraging both approaches synergistically, CSPs can expedite progress toward achieving Level 4 autonomous networks.

DQ: How can CSPs safeguard their 5G infrastructure against cyber threats? What role can GenAI play in enhancing network security?


Arvind: We believe that Generative AI (GenAI) can play a pivotal role in enhancing network security. At the Mobile World Congress this year, we announced the integration of our NetGuard Cybersecurity Dome software with a telco-centric GenAI assistant for CSPs and enterprises. This strategic move addresses the increasing sophistication of cyber threats, where cybercriminals are leveraging GenAI for more advanced attacks on critical infrastructure. Our approach enables faster and higher-quality detection and resolution capabilities.

Through our extended detection response (XDR) security platform, powered by AI and machine learning, CSPs and enterprises benefit from robust defense mechanisms for 5G networks. The Telco GenAI assistant enhances cybersecurity capabilities by rapidly aggregating and interpreting vast amounts of cyber threat data. This strengthens the efficiency of our Cybersecurity Dome in identifying and resolving threats.

We estimate that the GenAI assistant can reduce the time required to identify and mitigate a threat by up to 50 percent, depending on the nature of the cyberattack. This expectation includes a significant decrease in false-positive results, leading to more effective and efficient handling of cybersecurity incidents.

DQ: What are the key challenges that CSPs face when transitioning to cloud-native architectures for their 5G core networks, and how can they address these challenges effectively?

Arvind: When CSPs transition to cloud-native architectures, their primary challenge lies in maintaining flexibility while safeguarding their brand and business integrity. To tackle these challenges effectively, CSPs must make informed choices regarding vendors and technologies, and evolve their network core confidently. As a leader in the 5G standalone core space, we at Nokia are actively assisting CSPs in overcoming these hurdles. Our solutions enable CSPs to leverage advanced automation to reduce Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and swiftly introduce new service offerings to the market. Further, our cloud-native 5G core architecture allows CSPs to deploy advanced networks to improve profitability (new services and new efficiencies) without being boxed into any solution, infrastructure, or vendor.

CSPs can deploy AI and machine learning to ensure their networks operate at optimal health and capacity in real time. Through our Delivery & Operations (DelOps) approach, we have significantly reduced rollout cycle times from months to weeks for key customers, enhancing overall quality with faster patches and upgrades. Embracing openness is a cornerstone of our strategy, with support for cloud-native architectures, service mesh, Service Based Architecture (SBA), and APIs. This approach facilitates the rapid and secure onboarding of new innovations. Our cloud-native core architecture incorporates web-scale technologies, enabling CSPs to deploy without constraints on any cloud—whether private or public, centralized or distributed—while optimizing performance efficiency.