Artificial intelligence (AI) is evolving the landscape of telecommunications and those communication service providers (CSPs) at the forefront of the change stand the most to gain. 

Machine learning is an exciting ability of AI, which begins with simple commands overseen by humans, like a child learning to ride a bike. When the parent is comfortable, once the algorithms are working correctly, the training wheels are taken off and AI can be involved in operations and processes.

One of the major benefits of utilizing AI and machine learning capabilities is that it allows telco employees to focus on more strategic and higher priority initiatives, while mundane and tedious tasks are automated through AI. Telcos also know the value of maintaining customer satisfaction. As a result, AI has been used to automate operational processes as a means to improve customer support and the performance of the underlying network infrastructure.

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For CSPs, to thrive in the new digital age and keep up with consumer demand, utilizing AI and implementing automation activities will be a vital component of continued success. 

Telecoms networks are complex and the diversity of 5G use cases will push us beyond the limits of what humans alone can manage.  Applying AI and automation to operations is therefore no longer a choice, but a critical imperative.”

Andrew Burrell, Head of Digital Operations Marketing, Nokia

Three areas where CSPs are applying AI:

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1. Customer care

Implementing chatbots into customer care operations is one of the more common ways to apply. AI into telco operations. Faced with endless support requests, telcos have turned to chatbots to help address typical issues for installation, troubleshooting and maintenance.

Simulating human conversations via message or voice, chatbots work independently to answer support questions by responding to inquiries using predefined scripts and a knowledge database. When challenged with support questions that introduce new concepts in which AI cannot comprehend, the chatbot will forward the issue to a human operator. More impressive, chatbots will learn from support interactions that introduce these new concepts, growing its scope of knowledge over time.

2. Networks

Telcos utilize multiple technologies to keep their networks running at peak performance. As a result, attempting to plan and optimize network performance is quickly moving beyond the limits of human beings. 

AI is being used to monitor network traffic information by location and time zone through the use of advanced algorithms that look for patterns in network data, With the help of AI, telcos can detect network anomalies for immediate remediation and predict potential service degradations to proactively fix problems before customers are negatively impacted. 

3. Predictive maintenance

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Rather than waiting for a piece of hardware or software to fail, telcos can use predictive analytics to look for patterns in data. Sources like weather patterns, support tickets and social media sentiment can be tracked and assessed by AI to predict potential issues with key systems. 

AI can collate and assess extremely large quantities of data, then signal potential issues to human staff who can choose to take proactive measures if deemed necessary.

By utilizing AI to automate processes, telcos can enable their staff to make more informed decisions faster, allowing them to focus on higher priority initiatives while tasking technology with routine and repetitive tasks.