Harnessing the Power of Analytics for Telecoms – Part II


Spotlight on Power of Analytics | TelecomDrive.com

With the recent developments in telecoms operating under the shadow of the ongoing pandemic – the importance of AI and Data Analytics has only grown and moving forward it is going to play even more critical role – especially while operating in the upcoming 5G era.  

 Analytics in 5G Era

Speaking about analytics possibilities in 5G era – Araceli del Río Sastre, Head of Portfolio Development, Digital Insights, Software Business at Nokia said that AI & Analytics are the silver bullet for 5G success to improve customer and employee experience, and business results. 5G is opening up a totally new playing field for lucrative vertical-led digital and slice-based service offerings with multi-party business models, to the consumer and business customers.

“The promise of 5G is huge: It allows CSPs to offer super-fast, high-throughput mobile connectivity bundles and new types of digital services like fixed wireless access. Enterprises can tap into operators’ innovation ecosystem built on 5G platforms, and design new services for their customers like AR/VR immersive entertainment, ultra-low latency multi-player gaming, robotized smart factories and autonomous fleet management.

Simultaneously, as the business opportunities arise, the already complex underlying network layer is getting more convoluted – thus more demanding to manage and operate. We are at the limits of human abilities, and 5G will bring a raft of new technologies and new complexities that will push us over the edge.

In this kind of complex environment, where the business, operations and network layers are all transforming simultaneously into digital and 5G era, CSPs cannot risk their personalized customer experience, e.g. for VIPs, business and high-value consumer customers. End-customers, consumers and companies, have great expectations for 5G.

AI will help CSPs not only cope but succeed in this environment, and deliver a personalized service when customers want it and where they want it,” she added.

Stephen Spellicy, Senior VP of Marketing & Products, Guavus (a Thales company) explained that with 5G, analytics are essential and will enable operators to dictate the behavior of the network.

“The key ingredient architecturally is NWDAF, the network data analytics function standard being developed by 3GPP.  NWDAF will not only provide the ability to collect data for the use of analytics, but the outcomes of such analytics can drive end-to-end automation for closed loop actions,” he informed.

Amir Kotler, CEO, Veego says that 5G is only going to multiply the need for analytics. “Remember, we at Veego are only talking about the connected home, not the telephone network or other telecom business units. Just within the connected home, we can see a startling growth in the use of analytics in light of 5G. While today, in-home WiFi rules the roost, in the near future, devices will be able to connect with the internet via WiFi or 5G depending on the latency requirements of specific services, coverage issues, mobility requirements, and so on. Analytics is the key to enabling all of that to happen seamlessly, the way people will want it,” he explained.

Innovations in Analytics

As innovation is the central force on which business dynamics are driven, there are a lot of innovations in analytics that various vendors are enabling in order to deliver unique wining proposition for their set of customers.

Giving details about innovations in analytics, Araceli del Río Sastre, from Nokia said that the company is offering the following to its global list of customers –

  • Customer profile driven Customer Experience Index (CEI), to help CSP teams understand subscriber sensitivities and expectations with the network, services, OTT apps, customer care, billing and other operator touch points
  • 5G network analytics to help CSP deliver on 5G promise of super-fast, high throughput AR/VR immersive entertainment, ultra-low latency multi-player gaming, robotized smart factories or autonomous fleet management
  • CEI-as-an-app: it is like having your customer’s experience, perception and voice “in your pocket”. It is an important step for both executives and employees who are responsible for their customer happiness and measured by the NPS score
  • Automated home experience optimization, including proactive ML diagnosis, recommendations and actions
  • Front-line user augmentation in customer care and retail based on ML insights and Design Thinking methods, to enable richer customer conversations and improved effectiveness
  • COVID-19 insights to help CSPs predict and prevent issues before they happen in extraordinary situations such as the current pandemic

Talking about innovations driven by Guavus, Stephen Spellicy from Guavus  says, “Some of the key innovations that Guavus has brought to market solve major pain points for telecom operators who seek to reduce the cost and complexity of their operations, while at the same time drive higher average revenue per user and improve customer experience. Our analytics solutions have focused on enabling our telecom customers to perform large scale, highly distributed data collection; real-time data mediation; anomaly detection / incident prediction to improve the mean time to detect (MTTD); and root cause analysis to decrease the mean time to repair/resolve (MTTR).”

Talking about the innovations driven by Veego, Amir Kotler explained that without violating privacy requirements, Veego is able to collect usage, event, trend, CX and other (meta) data in vast volumes. “Our ISP customers can use this data to understand their user base. We make tremendous use of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and our unique Global Signature Database that grows as it learns about device, service and other behaviors, and more,” he adds.

Future of Analytics

Talking about the future possibilities on analytics, Stephen Spellicy from Guavus says that from a historical perspective, telecom businesses have been slow to adopt cloud services, but at the same time they have been a huge proponent of cloud for their customer base.

“Recently, their resistance to cloud has greatly reduced.  This is related to their plans for next-generation network services such as 5G and Network Function Virtualization (NFV).  As they seek to modernize their core networks with highly virtualized solutions, cloud is the right home for this, especially as pressure mounts on infrastructure and operational costs.

In recent months, there has been a ground swell of activity around cloud providers entering or partnering to deliver network services, such as Microsoft’s acquisition of Affirmed (a virtual packet core vendor) and Facebook’s investment in Reliance Jio,” he added.

Araceli del Río Sastre from Nokia says, With our Customer Experience Analytics and Network Analytics offerings, we hold sensitive subscriber data, so there’s been cautiousness in the industry. But now gradually more operators are going for cloud driven analytics. It will give more flexibility in terms of capacity management. Analytics applications will be built more and more on cloud native platforms for scale, elasticity and openness, based on micro-services and loosely coupled architecture with multi-app deployment (multi-tenancy). They will have the ability to run on private cloud, public cloud or hybrid cloud, i.e. agnostic to run time environment (e.g. AWS, Azure).

Amir Kotler from Veego says that the internet service delivery chain is long and is only partially under the control of ISPs – the router, the WiFi and the last mile. The rest of the chain – devices (within the home), the WAN and all the service clouds (beyond the home) are opaque to ISPs yet people tend to contact ISP customer care whenever there is a problem.

“The ISPs need to be able to discern when a problem belongs to them and they can fix it, and when a problem is due to some sort of malfunction of a device or a Netflix server that isn’t within their realm of responsibility or capability to fix. Analytics will allow ISPs to spot trends in internet usage as well as in types of problems so they will be able to adjust their networks based on real knowledge. Here’s an example. Due to increased home internet use, we at Veego are able to use analytics to quantify a trend of increasing neighbor interference. Data analysis can help ISPs understand when band or channel steering is in order, when an extender will provide better coverage (or won’t), or when a mesh network will raise the QoE across the entire home.

Veego continuously collects data via home routers and sends it into the Veego Cloud for our ISP customers to access and use. Our future holds a lot of development in the area of generating data and putting it at the disposal of our customers, the ISPs,” he explains.