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Vista general de sala COR de Axión en Valencina de la Concepción (Sevilla)

Vista general de sala COR de Axión en Valencina de la Concepción (Sevilla)

Network Operation Center in Axión faces COVID-19 crisis

28 April 2020

Network Operation Center (NOC) in Axión based in Valencina de la Concepción (Sevilla) leads the management of the services that the company provides to its customers. It is composed of a team with technical training in Telecommunications and Engineering organized into a shift basis system to provide 24 x 7 x 365 support to any incident or planned work that needs to be resolved on the network. It carries out permanent surveillance and monitoring, not only of the emitting stations in the Axión network but also of third-party sites in which Axión has equipment installed, totalling a volume close to 800 remote controlled centers and almost 8000 teams integrated into its monitoring network during March 2020, also providing the necessary scalability to allow the integration of future contracted services.

Working in the NOC involves managing an average volume of 400,000 alarms per month, detecting and classifying them into incident tickets according to their impact and severity with an average of 700 monthly, taking remote actions for their resolution, transferring to the field maintenance group those that require on-site intervention, adequately documenting in databases for traceability and subsequent analysis, and reporting periodically to the customer and internally on all of this. NOC service key accounts analyze the established procedures and the quality of the service provided, calculating key indicators to guarantee contractually committed SLAs, avoiding associated penalties and ensuring customer satisfaction within the framework of ISO Quality and Environmental Management in which Axión is certified.

NOC plays a key role in post-sales management at Axión. In audiovisual networks market, NOC operates the digital headend services (coding and multiplexing), transport and broadcasting for Radio Television of Andalusia (RTVA) for both DTT and FM broadcasts. Another relevant customer is Cadena SER, to which Axión provides transport and broadcast services in OM / FM technologies, as well as many other local radio and television networks. NOC has also successfully integrated Emergency Network Services for different public entities such as Police, Fire Brigades, INFOCA (Forest Patrols) or the network of the Presidential Ministry of the Andalusian Government. All mobile phone operators (Movistar, Vodafone, Másmovil, Orange) collocate equipment in Axión centers, guaranteeing from the NOC an adequate management of the access of its personnel to the facilities and the ideal conditions in the infrastructures for the correct operation of their base stations. For all of the above, the service provided by Axión from its NOC has essential service characteristics and is of decisive importance in a crisis environment such as that caused by COVID-19 crisis.

NOC in Valencina de la Concepción also has a backup center at the Axión site in Sevilla – El Blanquillo, 3 km. away, which allows continuity to all the routine management of the NOC through redundant systems and equipment in the event that the main NOC has to be evacuated due to emergencies.

During the month of March 2020, NOC has developed and activated a contingency plan aimed at guaranteeing the protection of its personnel and the fulfillment of its service commitments with its customers during the state of alarm decreed after the pandemic by COVID -19.

The designed plan addressed an initial phase in which all NOC personnel were equipped with portable PCs configured for the access to corporate databases and applications and to the remote management and control network. Likewise, solutions were configured for the connection to the IP PBX, giving laptops the ability to manage telephone calls. In this way, it is possible to make available to all the technicians a mobile NOC station that can be exploited from any location and in adequate conditions in terms of cybersecurity according to the current policies in Axión. Individualized accessories are also delivered per person to avoid sharing (keyboards, mice, headphones, etc.).

After equipping the personnel, a pilot test of a group of NOC technicians was carried out from the Sevilla – El Blanquillo backup center, which was satisfactory. This made it possible to carry out, from the first decree of the state of alarm on March 14, a reduction in the physical presence of workers in the NOC to a value of 90% of the group in teleworking mode. The team, both face-to-face and remote, is in permanent contact with each other through connectivity and videoconference solutions implemented from Axión for corporate communication.

Follow-up videoconference of a part of the NOC team.
Top right: José Luis de la Vega, Head of Operations Area, NOC Coordinator
Left up and left below, respectively, Javier Sayago and Juan Carlos Núñez, NOC Service Key Accounts
Down on the thumbnail: Miguel A. Rodríguez, NOC expert
Bottom right: Javier Leo, NOC technician.

Parallel to the technical and people plan, the Health & Satefy measures have also been raised, equipping all in-person personnel with protective equipment such as face masks, sanitizing products, hydro-alcoholic gels, wipes, etc. and reinforcing cleaning services. Likewise, the NOC backup room has been made available and reserved for the case in which its use is necessary.

Highlight the involvement of NOC personnel in the configuration, testing and commissioning of the solution, collaborating with the different Axión departments involved in the initial phase and, subsequently, adapting their workstation at home to the needs of the job, making use of even its own equipment to set up some replica NOC posts in record time and without previous experience in this regard.

Example of a NOC technician teleworking desk at his home

One month after the plan was implemented, no NOC worker has caused sick leave and the service indicators continue to remain within the usual parameters, which shows us that the process is being very satisfactory for the management of Axión’s operations and the fulfillment of the commitments with its customers.

 


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