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Artificial intelligence and the B2B opportunity in cable

Cable Congress will turn its attention to the largely untapped potential of the B2B market, writes Adrian Pennington, and to the increasing role of artificial intelligence and M2M connections as the network expands exponentially.

Telecommunications networks seem to be perfect for AI. They have millions of users, thousands of elements, and an assortment of technical and business parameters that are simply overwhelming. Networks exponentially grow in scale and complexity and we are long past the point where humans can manage this expansion.

No surprise then that a recent Capgemini poll found that 49 per cent of telcos are deploying the technology at scale, well ahead of the average across all industries of 36 per cent.

A quarter of telecoms respondents said customer service had benefited most from AI implementation. 93 per cent believed AI will increase efficiency and effectiveness, while 79 per cent had seen a 10 per cent uplift in sales due to the technology.

Capgemini urged telcos to take advantage of the “low-hanging fruit” use-cases for AI, including forecasting, managing risk and tracking customer and transaction histories. However, another report from Gartner warned that hype and tenuous definitions are threatening to derail the potential of AI.

The analyst said virtually every new software product and service will carry the technology by 2020 making AI a top-five investment priority for a fifth of CIOs. "AI offers exciting possibilities but, unfortunately, most vendors are focused on the goal of simply building and marketing an AI-based product rather than first identifying needs, potential uses and the business value to customers," said Gartner Research VP Jim Hare.

AI is an overarching term that encapsulates all attempts to instrumentalise technology with the ability to think and act independently, much like humans do. It refers not only to the software and algorithms that render this capability but the hardware and control systems as well.

“I think AI is going to change the customer experience profoundly," Dave Watson, president and CEO, Comcast, said during the 2017 SCTE Cable-Tec Expo. Comcast is harvesting its data to enhance network performance, customer care operations and its X1 platform that increasingly relies on AI-supported voice commands.

According to a Heavy Reading report, I Cable Robot: Can Artificial Intelligence Make Cable Smarter? a comprehensive AI system will collect and aggregate data, detect patterns and responses, anticipate trends and behaviours and automatically take appropriate actions.

Read the full report here


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