Advances in telecommunications have fueled advances and disruptions in the way we live, play and work, and they promise to accelerate as we enter the 5G wireless era. This next generation of super-fast, low-latency wireless networks will not just power our phones; they will be the connective tissue between people, and all the connected hardware (driverless cars, drones, IoT devices, etc.) and associated services of the future.

This will be a complex ecosystem, which will require telecoms to utilize a similarly disruptive technology in order to operate it effectively. Fortunately, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is particularly adept at bringing order to complex systems.

For example, research firm Tractica has identified several emerging use cases for AI within the telecom industry, including customer service and marketing virtual digital assistants or VDAs (what we would call digital colleagues), and improving customer experience management. Several of IPsoft’s telecom clients have developed and executed on their own AI use cases, providing insights and best practices for other telecoms looking for a path to a successful AI investment.

First, Look Internally

The largest telecoms consist of hundreds of thousands of workers who are often spread out around the globe, which can make delivering services a challenge. Large companies from any industry can benefit from using AI to administer these services. IPsoft’s bleeding-edge digital colleague, Amelia, has proven her ability to automate IT services for some of the world’s largest organizations, including telecoms.

Not only is Amelia available 24/7 through multiple channels to execute high-volume requests, but her advanced Natural Language Interface (NLI) makes these services available to all employees, regardless of technical acumen. With Amelia, everyone from a new tech intern to an experienced CIO can have the ability to discover information or execute routine tasks by asking Amelia for help, just as they would with a human agent (e.g., “Amelia, please reset my password.”).

Several of IPsoft’s telecom clients have developed and executed on their own AI use cases, providing insights and best practices for other telecoms looking for a path to a successful AI investment.

At the recent Digital Workforce Summit (DWS), Karine Brunet, Director of Technology Shared Services for Vodafone, one of world’s largest telecoms, discussed her company’s AI journey with Amelia. Two years ago, Vodafone hired Amelia to support employees with internal IT issues. The company has since expanded Amelia’s scope to cover seven markets in multiple languages, and she has assisted 58% of employees who’ve contacted the service desk. Now, Amelia handles approx. 20,000 monthly chats, and is able to complete 53% of those without any additional human intervention. The company has since integrated Amelia into 22 of their back-end information systems for a number of roles, with plans to expand further.

NTT Communications is the largest telecom in Japan and one of the largest in the world. The company hired Amelia to be an HR rep, internally branded as “Randy-San,” who can be accessed internally via the company’s Skype channels to answer HR-based questions. During his presentation at DWS, Junichi Kudo, NTT’s Head of Applications & Content, said that the company intends to extend Randy-San to other corporate functions. “Randy-San is one of the solutions for work-style innovation to improve work efficiency and drive convenience by helping employees with any questions, including internal procedures,” he said.

An AI Bridge to Customers

During his DWS presentation, Kudo also described how Amelia is reinventing how customers engage with the company, which is where some of the most exciting potential lies. NTT deployed Amelia as an external facing “virtual operator, marketer and IoT support technician,” with the name “Cotoha.”

“Last year, Cotoha was able to only respond to easy and basic questions,” said Kudo. “But now we enabled Cotoha to connect with backend systems and made it possible to deal with more advanced inquiries.”

In addition to problem solving, Cotoha is working as a marketer to help increase sales of SIM cards and smartphones. Cotoha is able to recommend smartphones to users once they answer three to six questions. With this process, sales conversion rates increased from 0.2% to 4.0%. Additionally, NTT found that more than half of business inquiries were coming during off-hours (58% compared to 42% during business hours). By allowing AI to field calls during off hours, NTT was able to serve more customers at their preferred times.

As the telecom industry has developed new network speeds and capabilities to enable multiple types of communication, AI has developed right alongside it to bring order to the complexities of modern communication technology.

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