OPT/NET B.V.
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OPT/NET B.V.

The most complete AIOps platform for critical networks — Part One

Telcos of the future

This is the first instalment of a series of posts that look to navigate the rapidly changing world of critical networks and provide insights on the future of the market. Through this, the series aims to contextualise and underscore the strengths & drawbacks of common technological solutions to complex (often data-related) problems, and highlight OPT/NET’s very own flagship AI Solution: OptOSS AI — the most complete AIOps monitoring & analysis platform for critical networks

This series was originally posted on LinkedIn.
Make sure to follow us there to stay up to date and learn more!

Rapid shifts in technological, regulatory, and consumer demands are shaping the future trajectory of the telecommunications industry. These shifts will undoubtedly pose a challenge to many telecom operators, however, there are significant opportunities to be seized by those that are able to adapt accordingly.

Broadly speaking, there are a few major challenges/opportunities playing out in the current market environment:

  • Demand
    A fall in demand for new devices/services amidst the COVID-19 pandemic intensifies competition for existing business and pushes Telcos to innovate. An AnalysisMason research report estimates a possible revenue decline of 3.4% in 2020.
  • Supply
    Disruptions to the global supply chain can cause dislocations, especially during the rollout of a new infrastructure (5G).
  • Performance
    Networks will be under pressure, and simply cannot buckle. Staff shortages also exacerbate service & maintenance procedures.
  • Resilience
    Increasing durability is a must, e.g. empowering employees by using technology effectively to move from a reactive-to-proactive stance.

In a world that’s more digitally connected than ever, and with consumer usage patterns and expectations continuing to evolve and ask more from Telco providers, the pressure to digitise (both on the customer journey side, as well as internal processes) has mounted. Even before the high-pressure scenario laid out by the COVID-19 pandemic, where Telco’s have impressively helped governments, health services, businesses, education institutions…etc function at a sustained level, it has become abundantly clear that Telco’s must be willing to embrace a new data-first, analytics-driven model to compete and thrive in an increasingly demanding marketplace.

In a 2019 McKinsey report, 5 primary characteristics are discussed as the hallmarks of any telco that indicate a laudable transition from a “slow-footed organisation made up of siloed business units to an agile, fully integrated entity in which digital-and-analytics DNA infuses everything”:

1. Distinctive, low-touch, self-service experience

2. Completely personalised services, marketing, and experiences

3. Software-defined, self-healing networks

4. Zero-touch, digital service delivery

5. Data core and insights engine

While all of these points have merit, and warrant further discussion, our attention is focussed on drilling down into the last 3 in particular:

Software-defined, self-healing networks
Data and analytics will play a huge role in critical network operations (including building, planning, operations, maintenance…etc). These processes will become supported by (self-learning) artificial intelligence techniques, opening up potential for more automation of standard processes. This will have far-reaching implications for both preventative as well as predictive response protocols.

Zero-touch, digital service delivery
Implementing effective Robotic Process Automation (RPA) procedures paves the way for massive cost savings across many existing back-office functions. McKinsey estimates 40–60% of cost savings can be targeted in core areas from product development to revenue/cost attribution.

Data core and insights engine
The existing data landscape in the Telco business is (in-)famously siloed and inconsistent. (More on that in a later article, don’t forget to follow us for updates!). The Telco of the future will need to move toward a unified, integrated, and real-time overview of their customers & network elements to generate more meaningful interactions and deliver a higher quality of service.

So what’s happening?

The transition to a more robust, data/analytics driven model, at a time when service demand is accelerating and new technology rollouts are in progress, is extremely delicate (yet highly necessary). This means operators have to look to new and innovative technologies to help them cope.

One in particular has been on many people’s minds (and LinkedIn feeds) for the past few years now. That technology is Artificial Intelligence, which has been talked about and implemented at various levels throughout many organisations. The use cases have ranged from reinventing customer relationships with hyper-personalised touch-points, monitoring fixed & mobile networks for potential misconfigurations, forecasting network load and automatically adjusting capacity…etc. In a recent article, BCG (2020) explore the two-sided profit potential of AI in Telcos.

Source

They estimate a cost savings potential of 6.5–16% for network operations alone, with 5.5–11% in potential additional revenue boosting through integration with marketing & sales. But how is this possible? And are there any implementations that we can consider and learn from? What does the future of Telecom operations look like in the context of Artificial Intelligence?

Follow us on LinkedIn to stay up to date & learn more about how exactly Telcos have been using AI (including our very own OptOSS AI, see dashboard illustrated above) to facilitate the transition to a more agile, digital-first type of organisation, and navigate an increasingly disruptive environment.

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