Telcos have much to consider when implementing AI, with best data practices, how to harness AI to differentiate customer experience, and using AI to fuel service innovation topping the list.
I’ve logged a lot of miles in 2023 attending industry events around the world on behalf of IFS. Along with a front row seat to all of the innovation that’s underway, I’ve also interacted with many different people, including CSPs, analysts, partners, and vendors within the space.
Based on all of these conversations, the hottest topic by far was AI. In particular its potential and the meaningful use cases it supports within the industry.
While my interactions were as diverse as the event attendees, there was definitely a shortlist of topics that resonated with almost everyone. Here are the three AI considerations that topped the list:
While the importance of data is well understood, there are fundamental issues that must be resolved before organizations can unlock new revenue streams with the data they generate.
Clearly, the industry is motivated, with 87% of operators in a recent Nokia survey stating they’ve begun implementing AI into their network operations. But progress has been slow, with few operators successfully applying the technology towards zero touch network operations and other innovations.
Here are two best practices that will help expedite your AI implementation:
- Create a master ABE data set: For many CSPs, data is siloed within different parts of the business (network equipment, billing, data warehouses, etc.). Create a single master ABE data set so you can draw coherent conclusions with your AI engine(s).
- Identify untapped data stores: While most data sources are self-evident, there are troves of data often overlooked. For example, call logs and conversation data stored within customer support systems. Do your diligence and ensure every data source is tapped for a comprehensive master data set.
Telecommunications is one of the most data-rich industries in the world. Use this to your advantage.
While it may feel like the industry is falling behind, AI and machine learning are already well-entrenched in certain business use cases, especially within customer service and support.
Thanks to AI, the customer experience is enhanced with chatbots, virtual assistants, and better data insights for human agents when interacting with customers. In fact, given the competitive nature of the industry, few CSPs would survive without AI’s support in these areas.
Proximus in Europe is an excellent example of a communication and digital services provider that relies on AI as a key differentiator within the market, optimizing the customer experience and increasing efficiencies in the planning and scheduling of service activities.
Differentiation is difficult in such a commoditized market. Leverage AI and machine learning to keep up with (and even overtake), the competition.
The industry is ushering in a new digital era. For example, 5G. With high capacity and low latency capabilities, 5G easily supports distributed AI processing, allowing CSPs to innovate at pace and target new revenue streams.
A few examples include:
- Network slicing: Bundle not only services but also the network itself into your offerings, in a fast and transient way network resources can be bundled along with the services and using cloud technologies be elastically scaled up and down according to business need.
- Mobile edge: Deploy applications and services at the edge of the network to maintain compute capacity in close proximity to users, devices, and data sources. Leverage low latency and high bandwidth for improved performance and operating costs. Dedicate compute power to facilitate AI applications close to the data source(s).
To quickly realize how and where to use the above technologies, AI can be a good friend that makes sense to all your business and network data and gives you advise.
New innovations enable CSPs to deliver progressive services within emerging markets such as B2B. This segment wants to move beyond shared networks and satellites to improve the range and reliability of their business infrastructure. CSPs are perfectly positioned to help them achieve these outcomes.
Working at IFS, I’m afforded a front row view of the amazing changes underway within the telecommunications space. And IFS customers are leading the charge—exploring and expanding the industry’s horizons. I’m excited to see what’s next!
If you’re building your AI strategy and would like to touch base, please reach out to me on LinkedIn. For a deeper dive into unlocking the value of AI within the telecommunications industry, download our free e-book or visit our website.