The talk of artificial intelligence is on everyone’s lips at the moment and fear mounts that AI coupled with 5G infrastructure will result in an automation revolution that will render many human-manned roles redundant, effectively pushing people out of the equation altogether. Despite the potential of AI to transform the world to such an extent being a very real concern, it is still a long way off yet and for the time being at least, the ambitions of engineers in this field are far more modest and will hopefully serve to benefit both businesses and their customers. Virtual assistants and self-driving cars are practically old news as far as research innovations go, so what can the telecoms industry get excited about with regards to AI?

The most obvious change that is being increasingly introduced within telecoms is the use of ‘chatbots’, or intelligent computer software with built-in responses that can be transmitted over the phone or via business’ instant messaging functions (usually located on company websites). Chatbots are inevitably more efficient than humans as they have a potentially unlimited capacity to address customer queries at any time of day without needing to stop for lunch! They’ve been designed to be conversational, to replicate a real human-human interaction as much as possible and prioritise reassurance to customers that often contact customer services to complain.

More subtle AI technology that is in the pipeline for telecoms includes intuitive network optimisation that is capable of automatically adjusting according to traffic within particular regions or time zones and thus can prevent congestion and anticipate system failures. Not only is this an efficiency for internet users, it minimises the need for manpower to diagnose and then fix issues to ensure optimisation. Using AI for this purpose is much more of a help than a threat in this context, (much in the way a calculator saves a headache during long division) and has the potential to generally improve network infrastructure worldwide.

In the same vein, AI can also be used to generally play a much more active role in maintenance and controlling for faults. Using complex algorithms, AI software is able to account for innumerable eventualities relating to a particular system (be that domestic and network hardware or servers) and so can, with much greater ease, strategise the overcoming of ‘fault patterns’ and even prevent them altogether. Imagine a world that doesn’t necessitate an internet user having to make an initial call to customer services, who then has to contact a specialist, who themselves have to assess the issue flagged before they can put out a site visit job required to fix it – using AI eliminates the bureaucracy involved, something that has always plagued the IT and telecoms industries, and allows personnel to address network failures and the like directly, and with far greater efficiency.

With these in mind it looks like AI is set to revolutionise the telecoms industry by increasing satisfaction of customers, telecoms providers, and tech support, whilst simultaneously reducing time constraints and more importantly, stress! Nevertheless, nothing can take away from the personal touch involved in the relationship between account managers and their clients as we have at Intouch Advance. Therefore, even with intelligent technology further rising in the field of telecoms we will always be here to support our business customers every step of the way!