Machine learning, cloud and artificial intelligence are transforming the telecommunications industry, but the numerous emerging technologies and promises they offer can overwhelm operators into indecision and inaction -- and that can be as dangerous as making the wrong tech choice, industry experts caution.
Indeed, with so many technologies on the hype curve, its difficult to know which new or emerging technologies will make a difference, and which are buzzwords. Open source and standards, the focus on interoperability and cross-vendor testing help alleviate some pressures, but investments are costly and decisions are critical. Ultimately, though, selecting solutions comes down to one thing: the subscriber, Craig Fenton, Google UK Director, told Broadband World Forum, in a video interview (watch the entire conversation below).
Several service providers have begun using AI to address an expensive pain-point that hurts customer satisfaction and the bottom line. Globally, about 70% of network faults stem from human errors or oversights, according to estimates. As a result, network operation and maintenance eat up most of an IT operation's budget, whether it's a bank, telco or cable operator. AI and machine learning have the potential to transform networking by creating fully automated, self-healing and self-optimizing networks. With AI built into networks, not only could infrastructure maintenance expenses and downtimes dramatically go down but power costs could be reduced, too.
Early adopters reap early rewards. In 2017, for example, AT&T teamed up with Tech Mahindra on an open-source AI platform so developers can rapidly edit, integrate, train and deploy microservices for virtual agent or chatbots for customer support, Broadband World News reported.
To fully realize the opportunities AI affords, leaders in both the private and public sector need to appreciate the value of augmenting human capabilities, said Fenton.
"First and foremost, [operators must] invest for quality of service, speed and opening up the functionality of network functional virtualization and software-defined networks, he added. "[And develop platform-based architectures] that will allow them to draw from an ecosystem partner innovation as well as drive their own."
Not all decisions will work. Monetization models are theoretical and few, if any, have been stress-tested in the real world. Whilst consumer demand for video over mobile is important, the bulk of telcos' future revenue will be derived from increasingly adjacent markets as operators engage with the fourth industrial revolution.
In this fourth industrial revolution there will be an ever-increasing number of technologies influencing the telecommunications and broadband industry. The roadmap may remain less certain, but education about the future is key to gaining an early competitive edge.
On Jan. 23, Broadband World News hosts a Calix-sponsored webinar that explores several ways CSPs can enhance customer experience and find new business opportunities to avoid devolving into a speed race where nobody wins, not even the customer.
The lack of an accurate broadband map means states and counties are tackling this issue themselves and sometimes finding big disparities in the data before spending their residents' money on deploying infrastructure.
Next year many operators must decide whether to invest more in HFC or go all-in to fiber, pick their PON and choose their managed-WiFi path, writes analyst Dan Grossman, who also recommends providers bundle managed WiFi and analytics to best serve residential subscribers -- and operators' own businesses.
Public-private partnerships, investor interest, self-help in rural areas and incumbents' return set the scene for a busy year of broadband deployment in the US countryside in 2020, writes Analyst Dan Grossman.
It wasn't long ago that TV was ranked by subscribers as the most important service in the bundle provided by their communications service provider (CSP). Recent research indicates that for nearly three quarters of subscribers, broadband is now the most important service. Broadcast TV is the most important service to only 15% of North American consumers, replaced by OTT video streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+. In addition, many different competitors are moving aggressively to stake a claim in consumers' homes.
In 2020, CSPs need to fight back by transforming their business models, which are becoming more reliant on a single source of revenue: fixed broadband services.
This webinar will focus on helping CSPs transform their business models by placing a firm focus on delivering a sensational subscriber experience and by offering compelling new services that generate value for subscribers. These actions will reinforce the CSP's strategic position in the home network and position themselves for growth in the next decade.
Key topics include:
Being the first to market with WiFi 6 technology, in response to consumer purchases of new devices over the holidays;
Having the insights needed to proactively resolve issues, often before your subscribers even know that there are issues;
Providing help desk agents with the visibility they need to resolve common subscriber issues more quickly;
Delivering a mobile app, in response to consumer demands for the ability to do some things themselves, rather than having to call technical support; and
Addressing consumer concerns around device security, privacy and control with enhanced security and parental controls.
In this insightful Light Reading radio show, Kurt Raaflaub, Head of Strategic Solutions Marketing, will outline the key service provider challenges, deployment considerations, next-gen Gigabit technologies, and service models to win market share in the rapidly growing MDU market.