Indigo — AT&T’s New Network Platform
The smartphone sparked a technological revolution that unleashed innovations that now bring American consumers music, games and movies at the touch of a button. Cutting edge services and devices, such as virtual reality, voice-controlled home assistants and self-driving cars improve with each passing day.
Yet, networks that enable all of these modern miracles are, in comparison, still viewed as they were 15 or 20 years ago.
Consumers expect their network experience to evolve as rapidly as every other piece of technology in our lives. Networks should enhance our ability to get high-quality video of a favorite show while riding home on a train, or share a virtual reality feed to followers on social media, or help your bank protect against fraud when making financial transactions on a mobile device.
AT&T’s Indigo network of the future is all about bundling many network services and capabilities into a constantly evolving and improving platform powered by data.
- Indigo will bring software-defined networking and its capabilities together with big data. Indigo will offer an emerging technology called microservices, where small, reusable capabilities can team up as needed to perform a task. And, yes, it’s also about so-called “access” technologies like 5G and our recently-announced Project AirGig. Put all that together, and you have a new way to think about the network.
- A lot has to happen to make this vision a reality. We’re ahead of the game on much it. And we’ll increasingly look to the broader development community for open engagement to help us push further.
- AT&T has said that we plan to virtualize 75% of our network by 2020. In fact, we have already virtualized 34% of our network. Our goal is to hit 55% by the end of 2017. By transforming physical network gear into software – the same way you replaced your stereo with a streaming music app on your phone – we can add capacity faster and give our customers more control of their network services.
- Data usage on our mobile network has increased more than 250,000% since 2007, and the majority of that traffic is video. We see no sign of this trend slowing down. If we want to stay ahead of that wave, if we want our customers to continue to have a great experience, we have to become software-defined.
For more information, visit our Innovation blog here.
An Indigo Use Case: Studying MRI images without possessing them
AT&T Network 3.0 Indigo will help data-power your world.
It will start with the best qualities of our evolving network, including high speeds and low latency, or lag time. The network must be fast and flexible to move huge volumes of data.
Riding the network will be applications – the things that will improve your world with their data power.
In between the network and the applications will be the guts of Indigo – a platform. Think of it as a round wooden spool with holes around the outside in a children’s construction set. All the different sticks plug into it. It’s the hub for spokes in the cloud.
Here is an example of how Indigo could help solve a real-world problem:
A hospital system has many locations where technicians perform thousands of MRIs. The first step in Indigo is to make sure that the right people, and not the wrong people, can access the images.
Then a university researcher wants to develop an algorithm that can detect cancerous tumors earlier than ever before by scanning MRI images. To create and improve the algorithm, the researcher needs to train it on thousands of images. But they are private, and they are under the control of the hospital system.
That’s where Indigo comes into play, in something we’re calling a data community. The hospital can own a data community, invite members, and set rules. Community members like the university researchers might get a detailed description of a data set – in this case, the MRIs. But they wouldn’t have full access to the raw data.