Major telecommunication players believe that it is about time that AI is built as an overarching engine, that drives all these operations, from automating core telecommunication operations to services consumed by the end user.
By Srinath Srinivasan
In the first three generations of telecommunication services, data analytics and Big Data played a major role. With 4G, Artificial Intelligence (AI) got embedded into the services that telcos provided for customers and in services that vendors collectively provided for telcos. With the advent of 5G, telcos are shunning more of their analog skin as they switch over to intelligent forms of operations. Major telecommunication players believe that it is about time that AI is built as an overarching engine, that drives all these operations, from automating core telecommunication operations to services consumed by the end user.
“With 5G, networks will increasingly become open and there will be a shift towards virtual networks, that is, making networks a software based administrative entity,” says Yosi Mor Yosef, solutions marketing director, Amdocs, a US-based software and services provider for telecommunication services. Digitising customer journey involves cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT) and enabled by Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV). Initially, the shift from old to new systems with a number of cognitive and connected technologies may look difficult because of barriers such as changes in value chain (addition and removal of vendors), organisational and operational culture (making telecom towers more IT-based) and security. In the long run, however, there will be enough advancements that the whole process could be managed by an overarching AI engine which will make networks intelligent. It will account for a range of IoT devices and digital services.
Virtualisation in the era of 5G will help managing a great deal of things in every day life—gaming and streaming services without latency, autonomous fleets of vehicles and remote healthcare services. Telcos will be able to offer slice based connectivity which, for instance, will enable enterprises to avail network slices of their own—slicing the network for different use cases and services. “If I want to use my official e-mail on my iPhone today, I need to get my company’s security profiles installed in it. But if my company can have its own slice, the CMO can enforce these security measures for all devices in the network, which makes things much easier and simpler,” explains Yosef.
Again, 5G allows for eSIMs to disrupt, as they have the power to create an ecosystem of connected devices across telecom carriers. According to Amdocs: next’s Head of Marketing, Hillel Geiger, connectivity starts at home. eSIMs will allow seamless operation of all connected devices at home, made efficient by a smart home OS platform. This will allow mobile carriers to come up with innovative business models that will ease pricing and payments. With an AI powered digital brain, transitioning connected devices from one carrier to other will be a breeze. This will allow telcos to recommend services that are personalised and enable consolidated payments option across domains—payments for OTT services, mobility and gaming that are serviced by the same carrier on a single API enabled platform. “This is a huge business area for a service provider like Amdocs. We aim to bring all these operations under a digital ‘Service Provider’ brain or an AI brain, as and when 5G and eSIM roll out. Data will be a huge enabler,” says Geiger.
(The reporter was in Singapore on the invitation of Amdocs)