Service Provider Adoption of AI Poised to Pick Up Momentum

R. Bhattacharyya

Summary Bullets:

  • Artificial intelligence has the potential to profoundly impact the way companies conduct business, and telecom service providers are no exception.
  • Fifty-five percent (55%) of telecom service providers have already prioritized chatbots, machine learning, and deep learning; over the next two years, this number is expected to grow to 75%.

Few telcos are saying much about their artificial intelligence strategies, but enterprise customers have much to gain from working with a provider that incorporates the technology into its processes and solutions. Artificial intelligence has the potential to profoundly impact the way companies conduct business, particularly telecom service providers. From an internal perspective, it can be used to improve network management, operations, security, and customer support. Operators can use AI to add new features to existing products, or to bring entirely new solutions to market. All of this is good for customers, but the benefits don’t stop there. Service providers are well positioned to use their lessons learned with AI to help customers make the most of the new capabilities.

Across the globe, major telecom operators are implementing AI strategies:

  • AT&T is using machine learning algorithms to automate its call center procedures and to analyze and correct network outages. AT&T also collaborated with Tech Mahindra to build an open source AI platform called Acumos AI. The platform, hosted by the Linux Foundation, makes assembling, sharing, and deploying AI applications easier.
  • Similarly, Verizon is using AI to improve network management, including enhancing its SD-WAN and WLAN services. Its roadmap includes use of AI for network management and network security.
  • Orange Business Services is implementing its vision of a flexible, AI-driven network, using AI to improve network management, such as to speed up root cause analysis, proactively address network issues, and streamline customer support, including the use of speech analytics. As it navigates its internal AI journey, it notes that it is developing skills to replicate best practices externally for its customers.
  • In Asia, Singtel is working with Nanyang Technological University and the Agency for Science, Technology, and Research to create a lab that will develop AI-infused applications for smart cities, transportation, healthcare, and manufacturing.
  • Service providers aren’t on their own when adopting AI; they have partners they can work with, such as IT service providers. For example, HCL just launched HCL TURBO, an AI-driven, end-to-end testing platform specifically designed for communications providers.

But, the market is still in the early stages. Only a select few telecom service providers have clearly and cohesively outlined how they are using AI to transform their business customers’ experiences. This is expected to change as more and more operators embrace the technology.

Results from GlobalData’s 2018 Global IT Customer Insight survey suggest that telco adoption of AI is poised to increase during the next few years. As shown below, of the 181 telecom operators surveyed in 2018, 55% have already prioritized chatbots, machine learning, and deep learning; yet, over the next two years, this number is expected to grow to 75%.


Source: GlobalData

Enterprises should expect to hear more from their service providers on how they are using AI. If not, they should wonder why, since the technology’s benefits will trickle down to the services they experience.

What do you think?

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