2022 ended on a high note for Artificial intelligence (AI) when ChatGPT took the world by storm. But AI was not a game-changer for liberal arts alone. It absolutely took the telecom industry by surprise and had experts redefine and redesign what was already there. In addition, it is also setting Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 on an accelerated path toward a metropolis of the future. The future of AI in telecom industry is bright and, quite frankly, exciting!
AI in Telecommunications: 2022 Roundup
Throughout 2022, we witnessed the integration of AI in almost every sector, notably the telecoms sector. As a result, telecommunications became one of the fastest-growing industries using AI in several departments (i.e., customer service and network reliability). Let’s talk about them. AI and machine learning in telecom expand their capabilities across hardware, cloud, open-source frameworks, and neural networks. Additionally, deep learning in telecommunications has many applications in mobile and wireless networks.
Virtual Assistants in Telecom
AI-based intelligent virtual agents are becoming increasingly popular in this sector. Their application aims to improve service quality and customer satisfaction. Their versability had telecom providers seeking them out to handle most support requests for several “medial” tasks, including:
- Device configuration
The AI telecom partnership eliminates the dreaded waiting periods we all actively avoid. Chatbots can rapidly respond to customer queries by scaling conversations to simple inquiries. Additionally, their ability to provide uninterrupted service 24/7 makes them an ideal solution for “useless” customer service departments.
Fraud Detection and Prevention
As helpful as this sector is for the masses, it is an ideal target for cyberfraud and cybersecurity schemes. A telco’s digital content may not seem important enough to commit a crime to the average joe. Still, the reality of the matter is its servers hold an impressive amount of sensitive data about thousands of individuals. AI in telecommunication market may not be able to make it into an impenetrable fortress. Still, it can mitigate and stop the misuse of phones, phones, or services to obtain money from a service provider or its customers illegally. What the fraudsters end up doing, once access to the customer or operator accounts is granted, is building an unbelievable mountain of debt, favoring the criminal.
As COVID-19 reshaped our normal, fraudulent activity dramatically increased in 2020, primarily due to the mass layoffs and us entering a collective state of flight or fight. Needless to say, the boom in fintech has increased the likelihood of online fraud and scams. In fact, according to the “2020 Phishing and Fraud Report” by F5, Inc, a US-based security solutions provider, phishing incidents increased by 15 percent in 2020.
Robotic Process Automation in Telecom
To put this notion simply, robotic process automation (RPA) software makes it simple to create, use, and manage software robots mimicking how people interact with digital systems and software. RPA in the telecoms industry automates internal operations such as data entry, reconciliation or verification, customer support, and cross-sell and up-sell with AI-enabled calls. In addition, RPA applications allow communications service providers (CSP) to reduce costs, increase accuracy and efficiency, and improve customer service. Nevertheless, the level of automation is still limited compared to the potential level of automation.
What is the Future of Telecommunications?
The future of telecom technologies heavily relies on the technological advances of experts worldwide.
2023: The Future of AI in Telecom Industry
AI is more than lines of codes stacked together in a visual mess; it can make or break a company. In fact, the 2017 Deloitte State of Cognitive Survey reported that 76% of executives (the majority of them being from media, technology, and telecom companies) claimed that cognitive technology could “substantially transform” their business in the future. So, the future of AI in telecom industry is exciting to both experts and
AI-Enhanced Mobile Tower Operation Optimization
The routine of mobile towers is one of the biggest problems telecom providers encounter. On-site inspections are required to ensure that all the towers’ machinery and equipment are functioning properly. This implementation is expensive financially and regarding the amount of management necessary.
Businesses use AI-powered robots and video cameras at mobile towers in situations like these. AI also help provide operators with immediate warnings when dangers or other emergencies like smoke, fire, storms, etc. arise.
Telecommunications companies can add IoT sensors to mobile towers. These IoT devices make use of a variety of machine-learning techniques for analyzing large amounts of data.
Intelligent Radio Access Networks (RAN)
CSPs are trying to phase out 2G and 3G networks. Unfortunately, they have been operating multiple base station types across 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G for many years. What is more difficult is their need to accommodate an ever-widening range of spectrum bands (up to 20 bands or even more). Another primary concern is reducing OPEX costs, especially power consumption. And although 5G hardware is more energy efficient than 4G, the total power consumption of 5G networks will be higher as they will be much denser, requiring more base stations.
To effectively maximize usage and transition to 5G for all available spectrum bands, including legacy narrowband FDD bands, Intelligent RAN technology powered by AI will be used.
Accordingly, experts anticipate that Intelligent RAN services will begin to become more widely used commercially in 2023, resulting in improved network management and reduced power consumption. Additionally, all available spectrum bands, including legacy narrowband Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) bands, will be seamlessly transitioned to 5G using AI-driven Intelligent RAN technology.
The Future of AI in Telecom Industry: Vision 2030
When the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, introduced the Vision in 2016, it detailed a strategic orientation for the following 15 years. It stressed the importance of a low unemployment rate. In fact, one of its main goals is to lower that rate as much as possible by 2030. Vision 2030 has three pillars:
- A Vibrant Society: This point is vital to achieving the Vision and a strong foundation for economic prosperity and includes urbanism, culture and entertainment, sports, and UNESCO heritage sites
- A Thriving Economy: It calls for the development of an education system that is in line with market demands, as well as the diversification of the economy, the creation of jobs, and the achievement of a thriving economy with opportunities for all.
- An Ambitious Nation: This one is built on an effective, transparent, accountable, enabling, and high-performing government.
Combined, these three pillars provide the perfect landscape for entrepreneurs, small enterprises, and corporations alike.
Artificial Intelligence in Telecom: KSA Edition
While AI is not strictly a part of the Saudi Arabian telecom sector, it is an essential cog in other sectors (i.e., healthcare). Truth be told, the telecom industry is the propeller of all innovations in a country in today’s world. as a result, the application of AI in this sector is paramount for the success of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.
As a matter of fact, Saudi Telecom Company (STC) has deployed one of Ericsson’s AI-powered cognitive software solutions to boost user experience and network performance. The cognitive software relies on automation, big data scalability, speed, accuracy, and consistency to enhance network optimization. In addition, It proactively analyses the 4G, and 5G RAN.
The AI-based cognitive software solution reduces carbon dioxide emissions from operational activities using remote automatic spectrum analysis and virtual drive testing. The Saudi company has also implemented 5G AI root-cause analysis to guarantee its subscribers a cutting-edge 5G experience. AI, 5G and machine learning are trifectas of AI connectivity.
You know how a toddler is absolutely mesmerized with a brand-new shiny toy and wants to take it everywhere? Or one gets a collectible and can’t figure out where exactly it belongs on the shelves, in the grand scheme of things? That’s not too far from how big companies are with new technologies. AI is all the rage right now, and companies are trying to see where it actually fits in the equation. And the situation is, admittedly, very dicey and stresses the employer-employee relationship. Big companies are trying to place it left, right, and center. But experts know this technology, as avant-garde as it is, cannot and will not replace actual people as it is but a poor imitation of our essence. Things will get very scary before they stabilize again. Unfortunately, this trial run to see where AI fits in industries will make life difficult for many people.
For now, however, Vision 2030 is fully focusing on keeping the unemployment rate low, so we may not see AI everywhere in the telecom sector. Nevertheless, people are worried about what the reality will be like after Vision 2030’s deadline. Will AI replace the majority of the workforce since there would be no “repercussions” by then? Or perhaps, the government will require a certain percentage of the working force to be people. Will the future of AI in telecom industry overshadow the working man? Or will it be business as usual? The governing bodies of the KSA are very smart and educated people. They are bidding their time and only applying it when the plan is very close to foolproof while the rest of the world is jumping to integrate AI like some miracle elixir.
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