Augmented Intelligence: the ultimate telco advantage?

Published on the 22/08/2017 | Written by Aniqa Tariq

augmented intelligence

Facing down disruption, Aniqa Tariq reckons the telecommunications industry should seek intelligent answers…

Communication service providers (CSPs) face challenges including empowered consumers, rapid digitisation and increasing operational costs. To thrive within fiercely competitive markets where consumers have a great deal of choice, CSPs need to tap into technologies that can drive customer experiences, support loyalty and retention.

Advances in technology have not only made augmented intelligence (AI) a component in achieving these goals, but also a strategic business imperative, enabling a new level of intelligent customer engagement across sales, services and more. With 87 percent of C-level telco-executives identifying customer experience as the ultimate competitive advantage, AI can help CSPs provide intelligent digital experiences and a holistic view of the customer.

With the rise of Internet of Things (IoT) and connected smart devices expected to reach 20.4 billion by 2020, there is value for CSPs in the ability to aggregate and analyse personal customer data – like browsing history, location data, social media activities and online purchases- to uncover insights and drive positive business outcomes.

But personal data is unstructured and complex, and traditional analytics solutions cannot fully extract insights from it.

By harnessing AI, CSPs can tap into behaviour patterns, trends and sentiments, from both structured and unstructured data, to develop real-time contextual insights. Not only can this improve business processes, it can also support provision of customer-defined and experiences-led services.

The global market for potential customers is only growing, so to thrive against increasing competition from OTT and major technology players, CSPs need to strategically define and pursue growth areas. AI solutions for the telco industry can bring entire billing and metering systems online and on the cloud through one carrier, regardless of how many new networks are being charged.

Monetising data has become the new battleground and something that internet giants are quickly capitalising on. Large companies maintain huge repositories of customer data, often generated by consumers when they visit websites.

However, an IBM study found that CSPs have a ‘trust’ advantage over these global over-the-top providers, with consumers more willing to share their personal data. This provides a growth opportunity for CSPs to expand into new services and markets. By aggregating and analysing personal data, such as social media data, CSPs will have a deeper understanding of how their customers engage so they can better arm their employees with timely action to upsell, cross-sell, and constantly improve their customers’ experiences.

While the potential business results of investing in AI are huge, many CSPs still operate with legacy on premise platforms that act as handcuffs, with 62 percent of telco companies saying their existing systems do not meet current and future business needs.

The limitations of on premise platforms and voice-based services mean CSPs are stuck carrying the data bandwidth load and are limited on their current stack, preventing them from adapting to the new reality of customer engagement and driving a higher level of experience. CSPs need to transform their offerings to stay relevant in the market and drive profitability, by no longer just selling content, but becoming the content provider themselves.

By digitising, CSPs can enhance customer engagement across multiple channels, including web, chat, mobile, and social, at hyper speed; and ultimately increase revenue with higher product penetration. With AI, CSPs can develop innovative products and services aimed at meeting specific customer needs, as well as boost their cross-sell and upsell opportunities through more targeted marketing, such as geo-sensing or text message prompting. AI can also provide rich mobile-first experiences, where CSPs can tailor customer-facing applications, customer services and sales management, with offline capabilities, anytime, anywhere.

Making smart use of cloud technologies across the entire business is imperative for CSPs that want to combat declining growth, shrinking margins and intensifying competition, and ultimately seize new opportunities in the market.

But digital transformation is a step ladder, and must be targeted to the current capabilities and functional units of a business. Navigating technology transformation, building in coexistent technologies, or even completely replacing legacy systems is a complex process.

Finding a trusted and experienced partner to provide a strategic framework is imperative to streamlining the adoption process and improving the overall customer experience.

writer_Aniqa TariqABOUT ANIQA TARIQ//

Aniqa Tariq is the Managing Director of Bluewolf Australia and New Zealand.

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