US based Guavus is playing a unique role in the transformational journey of communications service providers. With the help of its innovative solutions in the AI and advanced analytics space – the company is changing the way companies build, operate, manage, and secure their networks of hundreds of millions of devices.
Faizel Lakhani, CEO, Guavus speaks with Zia Askari from TelecomDrive.com about the company’s current focus and its future plans.
What are the key priorities for the company today?
Guavus is a leader in transformation for communications service providers and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) — transformation in the sense of changing the way companies build, operate, manage, and secure their networks of hundreds of millions of devices.
Our priority is building advanced analytics and artificial intelligence solutions that help customers transform not only the way they run their networks but how they engage and service their customers.
We achieve this with solutions that combine three domains of science: data science, network science (how networks are built), and computer science (how to build reliable high-performance software).
How do you look for the fast-emerging opportunities in AI and the analytics space?
The world of AI and analytics are some of the most talked about and least well understood technologies in the market. We think about Siri and Alexa when we think about AI, but the reality is the technology has wide application in large data set domains, like devices on networks.
As more and more service providers add in capabilities to store data, the biggest question they all ask is “How do I use this data to transform my business?” In the past, the answer was an application for reporting what happened; now it’s about reacting in real time and predicting what’s going to happen before it happens. Think about handling a customer care call before it happens by predicting it’s coming and taking action to solve it. This is our area of focus.
When we engage with service providers it’s through this transformational journey that we guide them. We’ve been able to not only find applications for AI-based analytics in customer care but also in the creation of new service offerings and data monetization.
How can telecom operators utilise AI and analytics to drive greater chances of profitability and deliver enriched customer experiences?
Operators generally have three disciplines in building and operating networks, namely planning to determine what to build and how to build it, engineering to actually build and run the network, and finally operations which involves thinking about the most cost-effective way to run the network and support customers.
AI and analytics span all three of these to get the maximum result of transformation. You can’t just bolt on AI to the operations without first thinking about how the data is generated in the network, how to access and process that data in real-time, and how to garnish new actionable insights from the data.
This is a hard problem as operators are great at planning, building and running networks, but they aren’t necessarily experts at collecting data, building the analytics or getting them to run at network speeds to address the varying needs of their business.
This is where Guavus comes in. We have a lot of experience in developing and applying AI and advanced analytics to their network planning, customer experience, and customer support across infrastructure, operations, services and customer engagement.
What are some of the big innovations that your organisation is driving today?
Guavus is focused on building AI technologies around reasoning and predictive capabilities. We have built a set of technologies that enable real-time decision-making processing, and now the challenge is about being able to look at wider, more disparate data.
We’re engineering solutions that not just look for things that could be tell-tale signs of something happening but rather use reasoning capabilities, like the human mind, to predict what is likely to happen based on the current status of a device or network element. We’re driving solutions that leverage reasoning capabilities in customer engagement, service delivery, operations management, and infrastructure management.
What are the key geographies for Guavus?
Our solutions are deployed throughout the world. We grew up in the US and Canada, providing excellent ROI to our service provider customers in those regions. We then expanded into Asia Pacific and Europe. With the acquisition of Guavus by Thales, we’re bringing our technology to the Industrial IoT marketplace as well, working closely with enterprises and service providers worldwide. We’re growing our business worldwide both directly and through partners.
How do you look towards the growth in the coming months? Where is this growth going to come from?
The pressure to reduce costs by service providers is driven by a quickly declining average revenue per subscriber. This rapid reduction is causing more and more focus on the cost to build and operate networks. This has created a huge pull for Guavus to provide solutions that greatly reduce network costs and create new revenue opportunities for service providers.
Analytics and AI sound like things you can buy at the grocery store and many try generic off-the-shelf solutions, however application of these technologies is very specific to the service provider and the different areas of their business (customer care, marketing intelligence, network operations, etc.). Guavus has a track record of experience working exclusively with service providers to apply AI and advanced analytics to address key areas of their business. We continue to see this as a big area of growth for our company and a huge opportunity for our customers.
As a lot of telecom operators are looking forward to embracing 5G networks – how can AI and analytics help them do more with less?
The challenge with 5G is the volume of data that a single user device will want and/or need will be many orders of magnitude greater than what’s possible today. This is a challenge in that the price per bit of service delivery has not changed by these multiple orders of magnitude. The profitability of service providers has been decreasing over the last few years.
Service providers have tried to slow the use of the network by introducing monthly usage caps. However, enabling subscribers to take advantage of 1 gigabit per second data speeds on their handsets and limiting their monthly total usage to 20 gigabits seems like a mismatch.
Building and running a network in a world of increasing disparity between speed and usage limits will be a challenge; however, this is where analytics can help. With operations, subscriber, content, and usage data analytics solutions, we will be able to help provision and manage networks at the massive scale that’s needed without the high costs and effort that have historically burdened complex networks.