AI in Telecoms
- Enhanced Customer Service
- Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
- Network Analysis and Predictive Maintenance
The telecoms industry is more than simply providing phone and internet services. In the digital world with accelerated development in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, telecoms is thriving. In the telecom industry, AI applications are being used to streamline operations, maximise profits and build effective marketing strategies amongst other use cases. A lot of the activities in telecoms related to data transfer, exchange and import and the sheer volume of this process is getting larger by the minute as more devices are connected. Old techniques are becoming less relevant and AI is becoming a pre-requisite to success. Telecoms providers are under increased pressure to deliver high quality service as more devices are connected every day. Gartner have forecast there could be as many as 20 billion by 2020. That means there is a lot of data available and therefore, increased network traffic. Service providers will find it tough to manage the sheer volume of information with their current infrastructure which is why many are turning to AI investments. This article looks at some of the applications of AI in the telecoms industry.
Enhanced Customer Service
Virtual Assistants (sometimes called Chatbots) are changing the way people interact with customer support. In fact, they are so effective that it is thought they will be saving up to $8 billion by 2022. Several requests can be dealt with simultaneous like installations, set up and troubleshooting. All of these would require a tremendous amount of human resource previously and that accounts for the main bulk of cost savings. After releasing a virtual assistant to help customers, Vodafone had a 68% increase in customer satisfaction scores. Whilst this is mainly focused on the simple questions, it means customers don’t have to spend time on a call, nobody has to be on the other end to answer it and a virtual assistant can respond instantly. Beyond that, all of this service is available 24/7 which is vital to a worldwide company.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
Telecoms service providers have a lot of customers. In turn, these customers carry out millions of transactions every single day. RPA is a type of automation that utilises the AI. It is the process of managing back office tasks that are both repetitive and laborious. Some of the key tasks might be data entry, accounting or fulfilling orders that would traditionally require human intervention. In automating these tasks, people are available to do more complex and valuable business tasks.
Network Analysis and Predictive Maintenance
Using AI, service providers can analyse networks and automatically optimise the quality based upon the traffic and timezone. It does this using machine learning, an application of AI, which takes data and looks for patterns and trends over time. The AI platform will learn from the patterns and trends that it spots and once it has collated enough data, it will be able to start predicted when a failure is likely and recommend the best course of action for the providers. The notifications allows telecoms company to proactively maintain networks rather than reactively, ensuring a far better customer experience. Lots of companies are investing in AI as part of their infrastructure. For example, Sedona Systems’ NetFusion is designed to optimise the routing of traffic and speed delivery of 5G enabled services such as Virtual and Augmented Reality. Nokia has a platform that is able to predict service degradations and negate them wherever possible. As the algorithms learn, they can be used for predictive maintenance. By this, operators can use data-driven insights to can monitor the state of equipment, anticipate failure based on patterns, and proactively fix problems with communications hardware, such as cell towers, power lines, data centre servers, and even set-top boxes in customers’ homes. The Dutch company KPN have a system whereby they can automatically change their internal IVR system using the data generated from the contact centre. This has proved to be a very effective way to service their customers.
AI has already driven substantial growth in telecoms and with cloud and edge computing developments on the horizon improving speed, latency and bandwidth, the future is very exciting. As well as that, 2019 has seen the first deployments of 5G technology. It is thought that the bandwidth, latency and average speed of 5G will be the catalyst for connecting humans and machines on an unprecedented level. Industry analysts HIS Markit have proposed that 5G will enable $12.3 trillion of global economic output in 2035. The International Data Corporation say that the amount of data created, captured and replicated across the world could grow from 33 ZB in 2018 to 175 ZB by 2025. With all this additional computing power, the opportunities discussed in this article will only become more advanced and telecoms will continually to evolve at pace.