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Zen 7 Cloud Native Software Platform for Telecoms, Smart Energy, IoT and Enterprise IP Networks

Introducing Zen 7

2020 sees the launch of Zen 7, the latest release of our software platform, continuing the Zen evolution and bringing major new features and enhancements including cloud native deployment, support for 5G, Smart Energy IoT and large enterprise IP networks.

Cloud Native Deployment

On premises or in the cloud, Zen 7 runs on bare metal, data centre VMWare vSphere or Cloud (AWS). Our continuous strategy to containerise and move to Kubernetes and Helm lowers data centre and cloud costs through best-in-class orchestration.

Zen 7 has all of the benefits of an evolving architecture and technology stack including:
  • Portable architecture
    • Java
    • Python
    • Docker
    • Linux
  • Loosely coupled services to ease orchestration
  • Automated test framework supporting Agile development cycles
  • Re-usable, proven and scalable ETL layer
  • Optimised for Vertica with ability to support other data warehouses
  • Patented correlation engine with machine learning and automation support
  • High availability and scalability

Support for 5G

Cloud native architecture is crucial for the long term success of 5G and is the foundation for 5G Innovation. Zen 7 provides service assurance and data analytics for the 5G era whilst addressing the challenges of operating in a hybrid environment. Zen is already providing service assurance functions for 5G networks along side different generations of technology operating on traditional physical networks and cloud based network virtualisation (NFV/SDN/VNF) for RAN / OpenRAN, Transmission and Core.

Zen is evolving to support the transition to 5G Stand Alone, and the service scenario based opportunities it presents. These services will be implemented using end-to-end dynamic network slicing, providing ultra reliable low latency communications (URLLC), massive machine type communications (mMTC) or enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), that must meet the specific SLA requirements of the vertical industry markets. The opportunity for CSP’s is enormous, however this comes at the price of exponential increases in complexity and data volumes produced by telecoms networks. Key to managing these new types of customer services is AI, Machine learning and automation based on distributed data analytics operating at different velocities and locations in the network, combined with service assurance / root cause analysis covering all the different physical and abstracted layers involved in dynamic network slices and assuring the customer’s SLA.

Designed from inception to address these types of requirements Zen is now evolving to cater for the increasing demands for 5G Stand Alone network service assurance, analytics and automation.

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Large Enterprise IP Networks

Zen 7 includes major enhancements to the SNMP management functions. By providing insight into the performance of large, evolving, enterprise and safety critical networks, Zen helps to assure adherence to demanding SLAs.

An upgraded SNMP Poller offers enhanced monitoring and alerting functionality to provide up to the minute monitoring of a vast number of device types. each with thousands of instances across the network and providing visualisation through the feature rich reporting available in Zen.

Zen implements a network of distributed SNMP probes to allow monitoring and reporting across the security layers of a large enterprise network. Using industry standard SNMP technology, Zen assures reliability and broad compatibility with existing infrastructure to provide a vendor agnostic view of the operation and performance of your IP network.

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Smart Energy & IoT

With Zen 7 our adaptable framework has been enhanced to support Digital Integration Platform (DIP) applications for Smart Energy Management and IoT applications.

The Zen DIP acts as a fully scalable device and application enablement platform. This facilitates command and control, providing monitoring and Insight into the metrics from IoT and M2M devices, controllers, sensors, and hubs. Zen can scale to Integrate with any number of devices, monitoring for deviations from model-based thresholds and proactively identifying anomalies from expected behaviour on   Impulse . Zen can utilise its in-built Intellect to automate actions or alerts when co-existing conditions arise, helping to build new services or initiate automated activities.

  • Supports Control interface integrations with either a third party cloud or multiple IoT/Smart Meter devices provided by external solution providers. Zen provides a generic Control interface API library in Java, and implements all control interfaces based on this API. The cloud-specific calls are abstracted
  • Supports Loader interfaces responsible for authentication & bulk data collection from sensors (polled or bulk export) from the third-party clouds and the normalisation of this data for loading to the Vertica database
  • The DIP can support data not directly associated with Smart device inventory such as Weather data or Tariff data and can be loaded by a dedicated interface as required. Data can be normalised to support joins with Smart device data, for example geolocation correlation.

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Enhanced Security

Zen 7 enhances the comprehensive features and deep integration provided by the Zen platform to address all aspects of enterprise security. Zen uses an identity store (Window/Linux) to manage user and group information and to determine access rights to the platform. There are two kinds of identity stores; Local implemented in Zen Server; External authentication technologies such as Active Directory, OpenLDAP, SAML, or OpenID, including SAML with F5 BIG-IP and Microsoft AD FS (Active Directory Federation Services). Authentication verifies a user’s identity and this is then used to grant authorised access to Zen—whether to manage the server, or to publish, browse, or administer content.

Zen Northbound Interfaces

Zen provides manager-of-managers functionality for Fault Management, Performance Management and Customer Experience Management. An extensive range of interfaces are available off-the-shelf for integration with Network Elements/Element Managers (physical and virtual) and 3 rd Party OSS/BSS systems in the customer’s environment.

Zen 7 introduces an enhanced SNMP service for integration with north bound operational systems. The following integration points are supported:

KPI Breach Alerts to achieve SLAs 

Zen can monitor KPIs based on any individual metric or perform rapid calculations across multiple metrics that form a KPI. The results are evaluated for deviation from group or entity specific thresholds, generating SLA performance alerts for any KPI breach. The Zen 7 Northbound SNMP Service is now available to integrate with North bound systems to create performance KPI / SLA breach alerts. 

Planned Outages Management

Zen 7 introduces a new planned outage microservice that utilises the Zen Northbound SNMP service. The microservice can be configured so false alarms can be avoided during planned works, equipment commissioning and maintenance.

Energy Systems Catapult

The Energy Systems Catapult (ESC) support the UK government and industry in transforming the energy sector to deliver on the promise of net zero carbon by 2050. ESC are developing the Living Lab 2.0; a first-of-a-kind, agile and scalable real-world test environment for businesses innovating in the home energy market by upgrading homes across the UK to become digitally connected smart-homes.

SysMech have been selected via a competitive tender process to be ESC’s Delivery Partner for the design and implementation of the Cloud based Digital Integration Platform that will be at the heart of the next generation Living Lab.

Living Lab 2.0

This national asset will provide innovators with a safe, affordable, shared space to trial and demonstrate energy products, services and business models with real consumers to de-risk and scale innovations for market. While also providing insights and evidence to help transform market arrangements, policies and regulations – as we move towards a Net Zero carbon future.

Initially it will focus on low carbon heating and transport innovations and the integration of smart controls, electric vehicles and distributed energy technologies. New integrations will be added in response to evolving policy and market needs.

Living Lab 2 Press Release

Digital Integration Platform

A critical requirement of the Living Lab 2.0 infrastructure is the development of a cloud-based Digital Integration Platform (DIP) that acts as the intermediary – to intake, manage and analyse huge amounts of data – between the innovations being tested and the wide range of mainstream smart home devices and energy appliances within Living Lab homes.

Based on SysMech Zen product technology, the Digital Integration Platform will be open, and technology-agnostic, providing true interoperability and scalability to enable a range of innovative new products, services and business models to be trialled in hundreds and eventually thousands of UK homes.

The Digital Integration Platform will act like the operating system, allowing innovators to plug in their own software or utilise a ESC option that will be interoperable – physically, digitally, and commercially – with the smart control systems and IoT devices being used by households.

*** FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION ***

UK software firm to develop digital platform for Living Lab 2.0

UK-based software development company, SysMech, has been chosen by Energy Systems Catapult to help deliver a cloud-based Digital Integration Platform for Living Lab 2.0.

SysMech (Systems Mechanics Limited) specialise in large scale big data solutions, delivering real time analytics solutions for telecommunications operators, high volume IoT applications, government and large enterprise infrastructure monitoring projects.

Living Lab 2.0 will be a first-of-a-kind, agile and scalable real-world test environment for businesses innovating in the home energy market by upgrading existing homes from across the UK to become digitally connected smart-homes.

This national asset will provide innovators with a safe, affordable, shared space to the trial and demonstration energy products, services and business models with real consumers to de-risk and scale innovations for market. While also providing insights and evidence to help transform market arrangements, policies and regulations – as we move towards a Net Zero carbon future.

A critical part of the Living Lab 2.0 infrastructure is the development of a cloud-based Digital Integration Platform that acts as the intermediary – to intake, manage and analyse huge amounts of data – between the innovations being tested and the wide range of mainstream smart home devices and energy appliances within Living Lab homes.

Based on SysMech’s Zen product, the Digital Integration Platform will be open and technology-agnostic, providing true interoperability and scalability to enable a range of innovative new products, services and business models to be trialled in hundreds and eventually thousands of UK homes.

Living Lab 2.0 will significantly improve and expand on the Catapult’s existing Living Lab of 100 connected homes, where businesses can rapidly design and market-test heating products and services.

Initially it will focus on low carbon heating and transport innovations and the integration of smart controls, electric vehicles and distributed energy technologies. New integrations will be added in response to evolving policy and market needs.

Dr Andrew Barton, Energy Systems Catapult systems development manager, said: “SysMech are helping us develop a Digital Integration Platform that enables UK businesses trial their products and services will real consumers, generating the high-value, high-volume data needed to validate and improve innovations and business models.

“We chose SysMech because they were a UK SME (small or medium-sized enterprise) with experience developing systems that can handle huge amounts of data while ensuing performance, health and utilisation.

“The Digital Integration Platform will act like the operating system, allowing innovators to plug in their own software or utilise a Catapult option that will be interoperable – physically, digitally, and commercially – with the smart control systems and IoT devices being used by households.

“The overall goal of Living Lab 2.0 is to help UK companies to test products, services and business models that deliver low carbon innovation for a wide range of consumer homes and lifestyles, and provide insight to develop market arrangements, policies and regulations for Net Zero carbon future.”

Selected via a competitive tender process, SysMech have formed a joint team with the Catapult that will work very closely throughout the project, which is being delivered using an Agile Scrum approach.

Rob Green, SysMech joint founder and CEO, said: “We are really delighted to be selected by the Energy Systems Catapult as their Delivery Partner for the design and implementation of the Digital Integration Platform that will be at the heart of the next generation Living Lab.

“This is a great opportunity for us and our entire team are very excited to be involved in such an innovative project and helping the Catapult to transition the UK’s energy systems towards a Net Zero carbon future.”

***ENDS***

Notes to Editors:

About Energy Systems Catapult

Energy Systems Catapult was set up to accelerate the transformation of the UK’s energy system and ensure UK businesses and consumers capture the opportunities of clean growth.

The Catapult is an independent, not-for-profit centre of excellence that bridges the gap between industry, government, academia and research. We take a whole system view of the energy sector, helping us to identify and address innovation priorities and market barriers, in order to decarbonise the energy system at the lowest cost.

We have more than 170 staff based in Birmingham and Derby with a variety of technical, commercial and policy backgrounds. We work with innovators from companies of all sizes to develop, test and scale their ideas. We also collaborate with industry, academia and Government to overcome the systemic barriers of the current energy market to help unleash the potential of new products, services and value chains required to achieve the UK’s clean growth ambitions as set out in the Industrial Strategy.

For media inquiries in relation to this release, contact Stuart Brennan, Head of Communications on 07557 436697 or stuart.brennan@es.catapult.org.uk

http://es.catapult.org.uk/

This year’s Telco Data Analytics brought together some of Europe’s leading telecoms experts, tackling topics such as machine learning, new infrastructures and the impending General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In this blog, we share the top 5 topics from the 2017 event.

 

1. GDPR

 

With GDPR on the horizon, it’s no surprise that it was discussed by several speakers at this year’s Telco Data Analytics. Andres Vegas, Global Big Data Director at Telefónica, explained that privacy and personal data management are top challenges that operators must tackle ahead of the fast approaching GDPR compliance deadline of May next year. And with 89% of customers already worried about what happens with their data, along with harsh penalties for non-compliance, it’s a challenge that must be taken seriously.

 

Also addressing the subject, Ludovic Lévy said that Orange, where he is VP of Global Data Strategy and Governance, is looking at GDPR as an opportunity, rather than a constraint. Operators must make the opt-in process transparent for subscribers; instead of pages and pages of terms and conditions, they could take a modular approach, with ‘feature-based’ opt-in. He used the example of a recent update to Waze, a popular navigation app. Updated terms and conditions allowed the app to access a user’s calendar, alerting them when to leave for their next appointment based on traffic conditions. Although Waze had been transparent with this change, messages within terms and conditions can often be overlooked by users, and a simple ‘new feature’ opt-in would likely be better received and build users trust

 

2. Machine Learning Use Cases

 

Unsurprisingly, artificial intelligence and machine learning were discussed throughout the event. Almost everyone agreed that these technologies must be use case driven to ensure they actually bear a benefit to operators, whether it be financial or operational.

 

Perhaps one of the most polished use cases presented at the event was the use of machine learning algorithms to improve out-of-home advertising, presented by Roman Postnikov, Director of Customer Analytics and Segment Marketing at MegaFon. In this particular use case, MegaFon wanted to use their data to track movement, and customise digital billboards to adapt to the local audience. However, the telecoms data was not accurate enough to track the physical paths taken by users, so a machine learning algorithm was developed to map the path with the most likelihood. Results showed that 95% of the time, an accuracy of <25m could be achieved, and this is expected to reach an accuracy of <10m over the next 12 months as the machine learning progresses.

 

3. Data integration challenges

 

A common pain point that was highlighted by both operators and vendors at this year’s event was the continuing challenge of data quality and data integration. Pratik Bose, Head of Mobile Big Data Solutions at EE/BT explained that data issues are rarely spoken about, but can have a massive operational impact, especially on newly arising use cases in the fields of machine learning and artificial intelligence. Joar Anderson from DigitalRoute expanded on the topic, saying that data scientists were spending up to 80% of their time on cleaning, collecting and organising data before they could utilise it, and this was an issue that must be acknowledged and tackled head-on.

 

4. Real-time analytics

 

Several discussions tackled the subject of combining legacy toolsets with real-time analytics solutions. A panel featuring voices from Docomo and Swisscom saw a common question arise; what actually is real-time? For Docomo, a data latency of 30 minutes for mobile alarming applications can be classed as real-time, where others may see a delay of a few seconds to a few minutes as real-time. What was also apparent at the event was that not everything needs to be in a real-time analytics environment immediately. Instead a balance is needed between existing systems that already work well, and specific use cases within a big data application.

 

5. Data scientists

 

Finally, a topic touched on by many was the resourcing of data scientists, specifically the challenges operators face when it comes to attracting the best people. Telco’s are up against the likes of Google and Facebook, who can often appear more attractive, and their type of data is usually more relatable. In fact, in an executive panel discussing the topic of creating a sustainable analytics culture, it was highlighted that the problem may well not be about data scientists, but about data translators, providing an understanding of telecoms data which can only come from experience within the industry.

 

 

As always, this year’s event tacked some of the most pressing topics within telecoms right now, some reoccurring from last year’s event, and some newly arising challenges. What was clear is that data analytics touches multiple areas across the telecoms environment and will surely be a hot topic well into the future.

Telco Data Analytics is rapidly becoming a highly-distinguished event on the telecommunications calendar, attracting industry leaders across the fields of big data and analytics. And this year was no exception, with a line-up including Dr Susan Wenger from Deutsche Telekom, Pratik Bose from EE/BT and Dr Nuria Oliver from Vodafone.

 

A key part of Telco Data Analytics, which runs annually in both Europe and the USA, is of course the Telco Data Analytics Awards. The awards recognise progression and excellence across five key categories, ranging from Data Governance to Innovative use of AI and Machine Learning. The ceremony saw around 180 members of the telecoms community celebrating top industry achievements in the field of telecoms data analytics.

 

Shortlisted in two categories, SysMech were delighted to be recognised with the Award of Most Effective use of Analytics to Improve Customer Experience. The independent judging panel recognised the ability of Zen to manage the data explosion seen within the industry, giving network operators the ability to dependably provide uninterrupted customer experience to subscribers through excellent service performance and insightful customer care.

 

Telco Data Analytics Awards

 

 

Visit our Customer Experience Management page to read more on how Zen correlates network and customer data to provide actionable insights for improving subscriber’s experiences.