Sixty eight per cent Telecom Operators Investigate AI & ML for Business: Survey

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The telecom operators are doubtful about whether AI and ML will be able to automate all the network operations and customer interactions, says IHS market survey

For years, enterprises have undertaken digital transformation. However, the telecom industry has recently started to specifically focus on the digital transformation in order to enhance customer experience and improve network automation and agility. Around 68 per cent telecom operators started to investigate artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) for their businesses, according to the findings of a recent survey by IHS Market.

According to the survey, at least six out of ten (56 per cent) operators had started lab testing of AI and ML types of solutions.

On the other hand, 24 per cent operators report that they already have around 3-5 targeted user cases in production deployment, it adds.

AI/ML: Nascent for telecom

However, the survey mentions that the AI, ML and blockchain are emerging technologies in the telecommunication sector and the operators are in the initial stages of experimentation and learning, with some limited deployments.

The technologies like AI and ML will possibly have the most impact on cloud services provided to the customers and carrier network operations and management, the survey states.

However, the operators are doubtful about whether AI and ML will be able to automate all the network operations and customer interactions. Only 44 percent of the respondents said that they believe this will happen at some point of time.

Automation is not easy

Operators expect to employ several strategies for achieving at least partial automation within their networks. Around 60 per cent of the operators said they support the setting up of a realistic migration path, which means employing end-to-end automation of specific critical elements first, then automate other elements over a period of time.

However, operators said that they expect difficulties while automating their existing systems and networks, while dealing with legacy OSS/BSS, security issues, and the lack of knowledge, skills and vision about what and how to automate.

Recently, IHS Markit surveyed 25 leading telecom operators on the key four digital transformation technologies including operator priorities for automation, target use cases and drawbacks of AI and ML projects, open-source software versus standards and qualities and hindrances of blockchain.

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