How Can AI in Telecoms Help Your Business?

Created: Thursday, April 4, 2019, posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 10:00 am



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By Mike Ianiri, Equinox

Artificial intelligence (AI) is widely talked about, but what is it and can it help improve your business telecoms)?

Let’s start by defining AI: Artificial intelligence is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems. These processes include learning (the acquisition of information and rules for using the information), reasoning (using rules to reach approximate or definite conclusions) and self-correction.

So, if AI is about getting machines to think like humans, there will many ways that AI can help your business, particularly with communications. Here are five key ways in which we believe AI can help your business.

Removing Call-routing

When you call a business, press 1 for Accounts, press 2 for Sales… etc. has got to be one of the most infuriating things to hear when the call first connects.

We are already used to talking to machines: Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri for example. Apple claims that over half a billion people use Siri, although other articles suggest only 3% of usage is in public. Amazon’s Echo and Dots made 67% of the sales of smart speakers in 2018, so there are a large number of people talking to smart devices. How long before call routing follows and uses AI to route your calls?

Imagine a Virtual Assistant on the end of every call. You simply tell them what you are looking for and it routes your call accordingly. No longer having to enter your choice during umpteen menu options, having to go back a couple of steps [and then go forward again] before you get to talk to a human who can answer your question.

Identifying Serious Customers

You receive huge amounts of electronic communication into your business: emails, social media etc. Unless someone overtly says, “I want to buy something”, it’s not always easy to spot the potential buying signals. AI algorithms could search through the electronic noise to spot the buying signals, whether based on word or tone, and then route that information to the Sales department.

Prioritizing Electronic Communication

As mentioned, we all get huge amounts of electronic communication. Knowing what is a priority is not easy. Any business coach or productivity expert will recommend you develop a priority matrix, but simply finding time in the day to go through everything can take up a significant chunk of your time. Productivity is negatively impacted, and your state of mind is not improved as you filter the communication and decide whether it is a Quick Win or a Thankless Task.

AI can help here. Products such as Celaton can process that content and prioritize is for you. Of course, you still need to check most of the electronic information you are sent. However, having it in a priority order will really help.

Optimizing Operations

IT and telecoms operators have been able to monitor their infrastructure for years. Knowing when a server or a switch goes down is vital to maintain network performance – products such as Solarwinds, ManageEngine and Datto’s RMM have been available for a long time. However, monitoring, reporting and then resolving issues such as fire and intrusion require AI. For example, while the technology within a CCTV camera that enables facial recognition or number plate recording (ANPR) is not AI, what happens with the data collected by the cameras can be classed as AI. Being able to report incidents to specific individuals or charge fees based on the data collected are examples of this.

Automated threat detection by Intrusion Detection Systems/Intrusion Prevention Systems are being installed on more networks. As data becomes increasingly valuable, more people want your data. Intrusion Detection Systems sit on the Of course, the IDS/IPS needs to learn what is a threat and what isn’t. There are two main ways that these systems know what to report: Signature-based (the threat matches something that is known) or Anomaly-based (the threat is different to other data).

These devices sit directly behind the firewall so they can analyse all incoming data to identify potential or actual threats.

Data Management Issues

There is one thing that you need to think very carefully about within any AI planning: what you can and cannot do with the data.

The most obvious issue is GDPR. When collecting data, you need to be very specific about what the data will be used for, particularly with consumer data.

There may also be other legislation that relates to your industry sector and the type of data you are processing using AI. It’s recommended that you check carefully so that time, effort and money are not wasted on an AI project that you cannot use.

These are just some examples of how we believe AI is going to impact the telecoms industry and users. There will be those who see AI as intrusive or something that will lead to job losses. However, we believe that it will be a support tool that will make our lives easier. Technology will continue to automate what can be automated. As a business owner, you can choose to push against the tide or embrace it.


Mike Ianiri
    
Mike Ianiri is Director of independent telecoms brokerage Equinox.

Mike works with companies, charities and other organisations to help them choose the right telecoms packages for their needs and thereby reduce their costs. He is particularly knowledgeable on the integration of IT and telecoms in business.


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