By Arpit Joshipura & Ranny Haiby
It’s that time of year again – time to look back on success and challenges of the past year, celebrate our wins and learn from the decade of open source work done by the community. Future is clear – stronger open source communities, more innovation, and integration across verticals as the industry marches towards digital transformation in the new AI-enabled world.
Our predictions for 2024 are outlined below, followed by a look at grading our 2023 predictions as always.
2024 Predictions (Top 5)
- AI will become an underlying Horizontal Framework leading to domain/vertical specific AI development
- AI Marketing fluff will die down and only 3-4 main use cases relevant to each domain will stay around. Yes, telecom, edge and vertical-specific domain models, as well as data sets, will emerge and be shared through Open and Neutral governance processes. We expect a surge in AI Enterprise workloads with the need for Networking and Edge seamless infrastructure integration. (eg AI/Edge as a service, Network AI, AI for Network, Network APIs for monetization of AI and Intelligence eg CAMARA)
- Silent winner of the AI wave will be Open Networking. Beyond the hardware upside, data traffic has to move across models, databases and apps. End users can’t continue buying additional proprietary switches and routers unless they get quick interoperability, open interfaces and re-use across multiple use cases and places in the network.
- The Value of Open & Neutral governance will rise in importance as open solutions make it to the mainstream
- Global communities will avoid dependency on one company/technology/project. Any attempts to violate the true spirit of open source will be met by the rest of the world (except for offending companies), aligning around a true open and neutral governance. (No forks please, long live open forks!)
- Open RAN will continue its journey, and we expect the last of the closed technology to become open (CU/DU)
- DARPA recently issued an RFI, signaling change in market direction towards a more secure and open ecosystem to speed deployments.
- The major new technology of Non-Terrestrial Networks starts taking shape with early architecture and open software solutions for cloud connectivity & 6G experiments with NTN beyond the traditional Open RAN deployments
- True transformation to Cloud Native Networks
- Not just containerization as we have seen before, but true adoption of Scalability and Agility techniques will be successfully used by Enterprise and Hyperscalers. Adoption of cloud native CI/CD approaches and the need for test and certification will both grow; 2024 will be the year of Kubernetes applied to vertical domains (telecom, enterprise etc) through projects like Nephio.
- The industry will be in a lull between 5G and 6G deployments; marketing departments will start amplifying 6G, Finance teams will start ROI-ing 5G while practical software developers make it real and scalable as the migration of Telecom Networks to Cloud Native moves ahead full throttle.
- Multi-cloud coupled with Edge & IOT will become the new standard for Enterprise
- No more private cloud, public cloud only. Need for seamless connectivity. This transition is enabled by Unifying various markets – Enterprise Edge, Cloud Edge, Telecom Edge and IOT edge coupled with Networking Multi-cloud networks at the core. Industrial Edge will continue to lead the transition of edge compute.
2023 Predictions: In retrospect
- “2023 will be the year of ‘Non-Closed’ RAN.” [GRADE: A]
- Fierce Wireless: Open RAN market unfolding as some analysts predicated
- SDxCentral: NTT Docomo deploys Nokia kit for Open RAN network
- TelecomTV: Viettel and Qualcomm deploy open & virtualised 5G RAN equipment
2. “The last of the networking markets (Enterprise) will start closing in on Open Solutions, enabled by seamless connectivity of 5G, Edge, Cloud, Telecom, and Private networks.” [GRADE: A-]
- See news from DENT project, “DENT 3.0 Unveiled: Open Source NOS powering distributed enterprise edge brings network management, scalability, and security via new rapid release cycle,” and InfoWorld’s Open Sources is still the future of enterprise IT.
3. “Continued blurring lines between CSPs, Vendors, Enterprises, and Hyperscalers.” Private 5G “Network-as-a-Service” will be the accelerator of this trend. Open source software projects will be the technological enabler for this transformation. [GRADE: A-]
- RedHat and Nokia announced a partnership for new, “best-in-class telecommunications solutions” based on Red Hat infrastructure platforms and Nokia’s core network applications as Ericsson strikes API pact with Deutsche Telekom. Additionally, Google and Telus are two years into their 10-year collaboration deal to help fuel Telus’ internal digital transformation while also jointly developing new products and services.
4. “Open Source will remain the neutral platform where innovation happens.” OSS development will continue to comply with the changing legislation, allowing country-specific requirements (security, data, federation, compliance, etc.) and be upstreamed into Open Source Networking and connectivity projects. [GRADE: B+]
- LFN successfully took its flagship event, ONE Summit, on the road with a series of localized “ONE Summit Regional Day” events across the globe (Canada, Spain, China, India). Well-attended, the events signal renewed interest in open source collaboration, especially in China. Additionally, the EU’s Cyber Resilience Act enables open source solutions to aid in privacy and security measures. Vanilla Plus reported on Nokia and Sylva validate 5G standalone core for telco cloud deployments.
5. “Metaverse will still be going through ‘marketing definition;’ however, just like Edge Computing, real use cases in real verticals will start emerging.” [GRADE: B-]
- Market definition happened, but very few use cases emerged. See Light Reading’s Mobile networks face harsh reality of delivering the metaverse and TechCrunch’s Metaverse is just VR, admits Meta, as it lobbies against ‘arbitrary’ network fee.