Answering the Call for Content, Connectivity and Customer Experience
Innovations such as the Internet of Things (IoT), smart phones, mobile apps and live streaming servicesare drastically transforming the way we communicate, conduct business and live. But, such disruptive innovation doesn’t come without challenges for telecommunications providers.
Consumers are demanding a positive user experience and, to remain competitive, it’s critical that you deliver it – all the time. They want to enjoy continuously enhanced entertainment options on multiple devices, and they expect to be connected at all times – with no disruption to network performance or dropped calls.
The challenge you face as a telecom provider is creating a strong, scalable telecom infrastructure that enables constant connectivity through a variety of devices and, at the same time, providing data and voice services that are consistently high quality, reliable, and affordable – all without missing a beat.
Moreover, telecom providers must transform to keep pace with an industry poised to grow increasingly more sophisticated and demanding thanks to key market drivers, such as:
- The transition to 5G – Representing the next evolution of mobile communications, 5G is expected to enable even greater connectivity, speed, bandwidth and other capabilities than ever before, supporting applications such as augmented reality and virtual reality, and enabling communication among billions of sensors and devices.
- Content rules – As telecom providers work to compete against cable operators and ISPs, they are looking to offer content from the likes of Netflix, Hulu (News - Alert), Amazon and others to differentiate their offerings and win more customers in an increasingly competitive and demanding marketplace. Partnerships with these and other companies are becoming a key goal.
- Focus on customer experience – With more and more options, today’s consumers and business users know what they want. They want connectivity at the speed of light, quick resolution to connectivity issues and a delightful user experience. Telecom providers are tasked with providing these services, while keeping costs down, in order to remain competitive.
AI Emerges as the Solution
To meet these and other challenges, the telecom industry is turning to AI to help improve the user experience, operate more efficiently and reduce costs. According to a report from Market Research News, 40 percent of surveyed industry executives revealed that their companies plan to invest more than $1 million in AI during 2018-2020. Furthermore, 68 percent of respondents operating in large companies identified customer experience enhancement as a key driver of their AI investments.
But, what exactly are the types of AI initiatives underway in the telecom industry? Consider the following ways AI is being used already.
Telecom providers are leveraging the vast amounts of data collected over the years to extract actionable insights to improve the customer experience, become more efficient and increase revenue. This data is being culled from devices, networks, mobile applications and geolocations, as well as usage and billing data from customer databases and services.
AI-driven predictive analytics is helping telecoms provide better services by utilizing data, sophisticated algorithms and machine learning techniques to predict future results based on historical data. For example, it is helping them monitor the state of equipment, predict failure based on patterns, and proactively fix problems with communications hardware or set-top boxes in customers’ homes.
Historical data is also helping them predict the likelihood of customer churn, identify customers who would be receptive to upselling, see where they can streamline resources.
This algorithm-driven form of AI is improving network optimization, helping telecom providers build self-optimizing networks (SONs) to automatically improve network quality based on traffic information by region and time zone. This is particularly important for mobile network operators, which have to deal with heterogeneous data coming from all over the world and from a huge variety of systems, retailers and network types. Machine learning applications can help them act in real time, analyzing the huge data sets from all over the world more easily and accurately to identify issues and proactively resolve them before customers are negatively impacted. As operators transition their network architectures with software-defined networking and virtualization technologies that enable automation, AI will leverage these capabilities to self-diagnose, self-heal and self-orchestrate networks.
Likewise, machine learning applications can significantly improve billing and administrative operations, helping telecommunications providers easily spot billing anomalies, reducing customer complaints and improving customer satisfaction levels.
Conversational AI platforms?—?known as chatbots or virtual assistants?—?are improving the customer experience and taking the burden off of customer service agents for routine customer inquiries, such as support requests for installation, set up, troubleshooting and maintenance, which often overwhelm customer support centers. Chatbots are significantly reducing customer hold times and driving improved customer experiences.
The telecommunications industry is going through enormous transition as it works to keep pace with consumer demands for streaming services, lightning-fast connections and always-on service quality. Thanks to a whole new toolkit of AI-based solutions, they can rise to the occasion, working smarter and more strategically so that they are prepared to handle whatever comes next in voice, data or video.
Artificial Intelligence and its potential to optimize networks for both operators and enterprises, along with AI’s impact on customer experience will be featured conversation topics at ITEXPO 2020 and the Future of Work Expo 2020. Taking place in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, February 12-14, 2020 as part of the TechSuperShow, attendees will have the opportunity to learn first hand from visionaries who are driving the evolution of network and communications technology using AI. Don’t miss your chance to be part of the conversation at the first major B2B technology event in North America in 2020.
Edited by Erik Linask