We are currently living firmly in the age of digital disruption; a time when data is driving innovation and changing the way people interact with the world, and with each other. Telecommunications services have become essential, making telecom one of today’s fastest growing industries. Now, as we enter this new decade, cell phones, internet, TV — apps from Uber to Netflix — everything we rely on to make our lives easier and more efficient, are themselves relying more heavily on data and AI. The future of telecom is, without a doubt, all about AI-enabled software.
Software development that leverages data and AI can enhance customer service, and perform predictive maintenance (including security) and network optimization. Moreover, proper data governance can even create new revenue streams for telecom companies (telcos). Together, these benefits work to increase overall profits.
Enhanced Customer Service
While many of us can tell when we are interacting with a robot, and it can sometimes be frustrating, this technology is getting much better. As AI and Natural Language Processing (NLP) continue to enhance, telcos can make more use of virtual assistants (VAs) and chatbots. These can respond to support requests, schedule service calls when required, and even identify sales opportunities. In one efficient interaction, customers can have all their needs met. VAs and chatbots may also be used as part of a bigger move towards robotic process automation (RPA), which leverages AI to assist people with redundant, rules-based operations in the workplace, which is a benefit to employees as well as customers.
Then there is, of course, the power of personalization. In the same way that people love a recommendation tailored to their preferences, or for our cars to automatically know how to adjust our seats, people want to be treated as individuals by service providers. Telcos collect mass amounts of data, that can provide deep insights into what types of services and products people want. This can be used to make decisions about to whom, what, when and how to effectively upsell, and can even impact what services and products the company decides to develop. This targeted marketing creates more personalized experiences for customers, leading to higher customer satisfaction and increased revenue.
Predictive Maintenance, Optimization, and Security
With the increasing sophistication of AI, predictive maintenance is being more widely used in various manufacturing industries. However, it has also seen a rise in the telecom space. AI can autonomously monitor, detect, and proactively fix network issues and equipment failures — sometimes, before the problems even occur. This means less downtime and more reliable service. Additionally, another emerging trend in predictive maintenance is the Self Organizing Network (SON), which uses AI to continually adapt and reconfigure based on current needs. These uses of AI are all key in providing optimized network service at all times.
Another important aspect to maintenance is security. Predictive AI can also be used to help identify attacks and detect fraud which, if left unnoticed, may lead to theft, fake profiles, and illegal access to services. In proactively protecting the company against such threats, telcos can assure customers that their information is safe, and know that its bottom line is also safe.
New Revenue Streams
Telcos, like so many other industries today, are constantly collecting mass amounts of data. This data is essentially a treasure trove of valuable insights that, as discussed above, can be used to provide better customer service, develop better products, and keep networks and equipment working effectively. But these are not the only ways that data can contribute to the bottom line. Monetizing data presents a whole new way to collect revenue. With proper data governance, telcos can authorize certain data for certain users, with complete control over how and to whom the data is exposed. This means that third party organizations that wish to provide services to, or gain insights about customers, can securely access relevant data directly through a telco.
Telcos are uniquely positioned to provide data that no other industry has. The possibilities for what that data can do for these other industries, including organizations that offer private and public services, are endless. It can provide guidance for everything from marketing to city planning, without ever compromising on safety or privacy. By working with reputable professionals, data can now be shared securely, anonymously, and restrictively. When data and AI are handled responsibly, they have the potential to make people’s lives exponentially better. That is, after all, also exactly what telecom is all about.
The Bottom Line
Telecom has become embedded in nearly every aspect of the human experience. As the industry continues to grow, it will also continue to revolutionize the way people live their lives. With the rapid rate at which technology has been advancing, demand for more efficiency, more personalization, more access and more security, has also greatly increased. It’s so important that telcos continue to deliver on these demands. Data and AI are essential to ensuring that telecom services and products give customers the experiences they are looking for, while consistently generating more revenue.
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