Is AI over hyped in the telecoms space?

November 5, 2019

2 Min Read
Artificial intelligence

By Anthony Smith

At an industry event today, a panel of experts revealed the level of artificial unintelligence the industry has to offer.

Is AI just a buzz word? Is it a trend that doesn’t live up to its punchy abbreviation? The topic came up during an executive panel with the theme: Assessing AI’s application in the telecommunications industry at Telco AI Summit Europe event in London, and the speakers were very open with their views.

“The AI that relates to the network sorting itself out,” said José Palazón, Director CTO, Chief Data Office at Telefónica. “It’s such a huge space and there’s a lot of work we can do with that but there’s a big dependency on the infrastructure. It doesn’t matter if AI is amazing if, at the end of the day, you don’t have the pieces of technology to interact with. Maybe it’s not entirely overhyped but the results are overhyped in the sense that AI has come a little later than people expected.”

Similarly, Shaun Chang, Vice President of Mobility Intelligence at Groundhog Technologies, feels that Customer Experience Management (CEM) is overhyped: “In my opinion, it’s a very complicated problem,” said Chang. “From a vendor point of view, if an operator said they had a magic formula or model for customer experience or for a churn model – don’t believe that.

“In our experience, from working with operators, we found out that these are very complicated and contain many different variables that need to be considered. The better approach is that operators need to develop their inhouse capability to tackle individual problems one by one. Eventually, after time, telcos will have a better understanding of the true customer experience. It will require a lot of AI and analytics but not the traditional way. An organisational change will be required too.”

Panel moderator, Mark Beccue, Principal Analyst at Tractica, sought the opinion of Ludovic Lévy, VP Data Strategy and Governance at Orange Group: “That’s the first time I agree with what’s been said so far,” said Lévy. “And I have a third point: the 360-degree view of the customer, meaning the capacity to reconcile all the customer touch points, including the data that relates to the user.

“Firstly, it’s really difficult to create a unique ID for each customer across all the data, in particular the data coming from the network. It’s really challenging, and we have not caught up on the 360-degree customer, which I think is overhyped too.”

Overall, the hype is here. The hype is real. If we are at the ‘dawn of AI’, as stated by keynote speaker Lucy Lombardi, Senior Vice President, Digital & Ecosystem Innovation at Telecom Italia, then the question of hype versus reality is one that cannot be answered. Yet.


Find out more AI content from Telco AI Summit Europe by browsing their Insights & Resources page here.

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