Domain 2.0 is a priority for AT&T's Foundries

LAS VEGAS -- As part of AT&T's (NYSE: T) Domain 2.0 initiative, which calls for the company to virtualize more than 75 percent of its network using software-driven architecture by 2020, the company's Foundry Innovation Centers are making Domain 2.0 a top priority.

In an interview with FierceWireless, Igal Elbaz, vice president of ecosystem and innovation, said that the company's Foundries, which are located in Palo Alto, Calif.; Plano, Texas; Atlanta and Ra'anana, Israel, will be looking at various open source protocols and working with startups to experiment with ways to drive more convergence across the network, cloud and mobile devices.

"Our No. 1 priority is to support the network transformation and Domain 2.0," Elbaz said. "We have to separate the cool stuff from those things that generate impact. We are heavily focused on creating impact and value."

Interestingly, Elbaz said the Foundries meet with about 500 startups every year to find the right type of partners that will help the company meet its goals. "We have healthy dialogue with the ecosystem, VCs and startups," Elbaz said.

AT&T is well on its way to meeting its goal of having 5 percent of its network virtualized this year, according to Margaret Chiosi, distinguished network architect at AT&T Labs. Nevertheless, the company does have three big challenges to overcome to meet its Domain 2.0 goals. First, Chiosi said that full automation of the network is critical. Second, the network performance must be top-notch. And third, applications must be redesigned for the software-defined network so they perform more efficiently.

AT&T launched its Domain 2.0 initiative in February 2014. One of the key benefits of the Domain 2.0 program will be the accelerated delivery of products and services. AT&T has revealed 10 vendors that are suppliers to Domain 2.0, including Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Amdocs, Ericsson (Nasdaq: ERIC), Tail-F Systems and Metaswitch Networks.

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