Ways automation is helping the telecom industry
If you are interested in learning about the fundamentals of automation in the telecom industry and how it helps operators thrive in the digital era, let me tell you this is the right place.
Automation is one of the driving forces in the telecom sector, fueling innovation for the end-user and also for infrastructure management, a.k.a. telecommunications towers.
The ISA defines automation as “the creation and application of technology to monitor and control the production and delivery of products and services”, all while encompassing several vital elements of the production process and providing benefits to virtually every industry.
One of those is the telecom industry. Back in 2000, Reuben September, then CEO of Telkom South Africa, noted that automation in telecommunications is about defining and deploying services faster. Is about capturing and keeping new customers by reducing the time and cost it takes to activate and provision services. In other words, it is a must for a carrier’s longterm viability. Truly ahead of his time.
In short, automation is helping the telecom industry thrive in the fourth industrial revolution now that 5G technology is here to stay. Read the rest of this article to learn:
How automation is helping the telecom industry
Automation is playing a key role in the telecom industry, laying the groundwork for more innovation, improved efficiency, sustained success and a greener environment. It is also at the core of the industry.
Automating the telecom industry is leading the radical change that lies ahead. We’re at a key inflection point, moving from a world of processes run by humans supported by technology, to processes run by technology supported by humans. And this is nothing short of both exciting and scary.
The telecom industry, sadly, loves the red tape: manual, repetitive and complex operations all across the board that are super expensive, energy draining and time consuming.
Artificial intelligence, RPA (robotic process automation) and Machine Learning can transform time-consuming and error-prone manual tasks to automated ones and streamline for simplicity, drive revenue across channels and improve end-to-end service.
For this scenario to take place, automation needs two key ingredients: Intelligence and programmability. Intelligence needs to be smart to drive change; programmability needs to be powerful enough to coordinate responses and adaptations.
Automation in telecommunications is about defining and deploying services faster. Is about capturing and keeping new customers by reducing the time and cost it takes to activate and provision services.
Benefits of automation in telecom
In the new digital era, where data needs skyrocket everyday and demand for seamless connectivity is at an all time high, automation brings far more benefits than the challenges it poses for the telecom industry.
To combat profit erosion, most communications service providers (CSPs) are struggling through a process to become digital service providers more akin to web companies that offer rapidly evolving and highly customized services. 5G/Internet of Things (IoT) and digital transformation are initiatives that CSPs hope will drive top-line growth. (OMDIA, 2019).
Reduce operational expenditure
Automating telco infrastructure can help companies develop a data-driven business model that runs on innovative, top-level technology that fuels their digital transformation.
Ultimately, enhanced services, optimized operations and automated, scalable customer experience management, can drive telcos to reduce their operational costs, energy consumption and waste, all while improving the revenue per user sustainably.
Efficient Data Flow
Automation can process information at a much higher rate than traditional processes, and do so from a wide range of sources, improving the analytical capacity of the company.
If the telco industry is smart enough to combine automation with strategies for a successful digital transformation that include, for instance, business intelligence, they are certainly looking at great results.
Network Monitoring Automation
With the number of devices communicating within the Internet of Things, and the high-speed, high-bandwidth possibilities of 5G, traditional data collection and analysis is no longer sufficient to ensure such quality, so telecommunications network operators are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to help them.
A study by Comarch shows that telecommunications companies are increasingly turning to AI-based systems and automation of network incident detection and analysis that allow them to increase their competitive advantage, improve customer satisfaction and, through this, reduce any associated loss.
Top Use Cases for Automation in Telecom
When it comes to the different use cases for automating telecom infrastructure, there are several areas that are already being covered. Plus, in this opportunity, we’ll broaden the lens to focus on automation in telecom in general.
Digital Twin for Telecom
Digital twins provide a safe and cost-effective means of keeping accurate asset data for many purposes: for mergers and acquisitions, for inspections, and for maintenance.
Creating digital twins in telecommunications, and of tower assets, namely interactive 3D models of equipment, automates the challenge that can solve the problem of identifying passive or unutilized spaces.
Digital twins are created by capturing aerial imagery with autonomous drones and processing the data into high resolution, 3D images. Users can interact with asset 3D models, travelling around the asset and zooming in on areas of interest.
With an increase in traffic levels and the complexity of distributed networks, telecom network management becomes difficult for service providers as it includes navigating complex applications, rekeying the data manually, and retrieving huge volumes of customer-related information to improve the efficiency of the network infrastructure.
Marutitech has identified that RPA (Robotic Process Automation) technology allows telecom providers to use automated solutions for repetitive tasks like incident, event, and diagnostics management so that network engineers can divert their focus towards more complex processes.
Telecom operators are bringing their businesses to the cloud. With voice, text and data packages now the norm, that value could be what differentiates them from the crowd and gives them a valuable edge over their competitors. Implementing the cloud as part of an offer is one of the strategies here, as this study shows.
However (there’s always a however), telecom companies know that their cloud infrastructure needs to be safe, scalabale and tailored, with a growing demand for cybersecurity. White-labeled cloud infrastructures – tested by multiple operators – appear here as an enticing opportunity.
Blockchain in telecom
The cherry on top these use cases is a word you have most likely heard of or read: blockchain technology.
We’ll throw some light on the concept of blockchain technology in a later post, but companies – for the time being – are already exploring blockchain for their operations.
The ability of blockchain to handle complex transactions across multiple participants is a natural fit into an automated process platform. A report by IBM, shows that blockchains can increase transaction speeds by reducing clearing and settlement time, and more than one-third of CSP executives say they are already considering or actively engaged with blockchains.
The telecom industry is at a tipping point: use the 5G-powered revolution of seamless connectivity, low-latency and record-high speed bandwidth as a trampolin to drive innovation across the industry, or miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to assimilate the multiple benefits of automation that stretch from creating income opportunities to improving workers’ safety hazards by reducing manual operations. This may very well include both the customer/user and the supplier or leave one of the two behind, most likely the latter.
Intelligent automation processes with a customer-centered, data-driven culture can drive profit, increase productivity and significantly reduce costs. These are among the multiple ways automation can help the telecom industry.