How will Artificial Intelligence impact BSS?

How will Artificial Intelligence impact BSS?
The ‘future of telecoms’ blog series continues with this blog that studies the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on BSS. Saleh Bari builds a compelling case for AI and argues that the technology will become the key driver for BSS of the future

Recently, Spanish Telecommunications company Telefónica was in the news for its artificial intelligence-based operations center for network management. With the help of AI, Telefónica wants to improve the customer experience and improve performance of its services. Social media giant Facebook also recently acquired AI startup Ozlo to bolster its efforts in conversational AI. This shows AI is increasingly becoming widespread as leading companies are exploring ways to use the technology to improve their services.

So, what is AI? Artificial Intelligence or AI is nothing but the use of computers to perform tasks that would normally require some degree of human intelligence. Potential applications cover a breadth of fields such as voice recognition, decision-making, robotics and gaming, among other areas.

Telecom operators are already looking to combine technologies such as machine learning (subset of AI), analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) along with NFV, SDN and 5G to create new-age business systems. Leading businesses are looking at ways to reduce human intervention across a range of business processes. AI is already hard at work helping telecoms businesses automate their operational processes or in other words create self-sufficient networks.

While carriers have been loath to commit to automation till now, the advance of NFV/SDN will accelerate the automation process. Since automation is slated to become the default for BSS of the future, AI will become the backbone of this automated network.

Along with increasing automation, high processing power (quantum computing) requirements, proliferation of chat bots and increased competition from OTT applications will also put huge pressure on telcos. AI will play an extremely crucial role in helping telecoms businesses mitigate these challenges and stay competitive.

AI will impact BSS in the following ways:

Reduction in costs – Since telecoms is a capital-intensive industry, any technology that lowers costs and improves efficiency is a step in the right direction. By automating solutions, telcos will be able to reduce the staff dedicated to customer service activities. Typical service queries fall in the following categories:
  • Usage Issue
  • Network Issue
  • Calling Issue
  • Activation Issue
  • Upgrade / Downgrade
  • Informational – Plan, usage, billing queries, accounts
  • Payment
All of the above can relatively easily be automated with the help of AI. Moreover, these businesses can also use AI to reduce the operational staff need by using bots/Alexa-type tools for:
  • Billing activities
  • Dunning processes
  • Provisioning issues
  • Running campaigns
Improved customer experience – AI can greatly improve customer experience by efficiently serving customers or resolving issues in quick time. For example, AI could be easily used for automated crediting on poor service and reduce wait times for service calls, among other customer-oriented activities.

Making use of the latest technologies – AI can easily power a host of new technologies that can improve productivity. It isn’t too hard to imagine a future where drones deliver handsets and sims to customers location using their GPS coordinates. AI-powered telepresence robots are already being tested worldwide. Telerobots such as these can easily handle customer queries and interact with them during upgrades and other incidents.

While the recent incident where two Facebook bots went rogue did raise security concerns and showed us that the technology is still pretty nascent, AI holds great promise in the areas of network optimisation, revenue assurance and customer experience. We will be watching the impact of AI on the telecoms industry closely.

Also, read our other blogs in the series: