What Entrepreneurs Need to Know about AI and Telecoms

Business Location

By Mike Ianiri, Equinox.

 

If you are starting a new business or scaling up an existing one, you will be investing in telecoms.  With increasing use of AI this is getting ever more sophisticated so let’s consider 5 areas where AI within telecoms can benefit your business.

 

Virtual Assistant vs call-routing

When you call a business Press 1 for Accounts, press 2 for Sales… etc. has got to be one of the most infuriating things to hear when the call first connects.

 

We are already used to talking to machines. Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri have made. Apple claim over half a billion people use Siri, although other articles suggest only 3% of usage is in public. Amazon’s Echo and Dots accounted for 67% of the sales of smart speakers in 2018, so there are a lot of people talking to smart devices. How long before call routing takes a leaf out of their book and uses AI to route your calls?

 

Why shouldn’t there be a Virtual Assistant on the end of every call? You simply tell them what you are looking for and it routes your call accordingly. No longer having to enter your choice during umpteen menu options, having to go back a couple of steps [and then go forward again] before you finally get to talk to a human who can answer your question.

 

Detecting buying signals

You receive huge amounts of electronic communication into your business: emails, social media etc. Unless someone overtly says, “I want to buy something”, it’s not always easy to spot the potential buying signals. AI algorithms could search through the electronic noise to spot the buying signals, whether based on word or tone, and then route that information into the Sales team.

 

Helping you prioritise communciations

Knowing what the priorities are, in your mass of electronic communication, is not easy. Any good business coach or productivity expert is likely to recommend you develop a priority matrix. However, finding time to go through everything can take up a significant chunk of your day. Productivity is negatively impacted, and your state of mind takes a nosedive as you filter the communication and decide whether it is a Quick Win or a Thankless Task.

 

AI can help here. Products such as Celaton can process that content and prioritise is for you. Of course, you still need to check much of the electronic information you are sent but having it in a priority order will really help.

 

Being careful with data

There is one thing that you need to think very carefully about within any AI planning: what you can and cannot do with the data.

 

The most obvious issue is GDPR. When collecting data, you need to be very specific about what the data will be used for, particularly with consumer data.

 

There may also be other legislation that relates to your industry sector and the type of data you are processing using AI. It’s recommended that you check carefully so that time, effort and money are not wasted on an AI project that you cannot use.

 

Optimising Operations

IT and telecoms operators have been able to monitor their infrastructure for years. Knowing when a server or a switch goes down is vital to maintain network performance and products such as Solarwinds, ManageEngine and Datto’s RMM have been around for a long time. However, monitoring, reporting and then resolving issues such as fire and intrusion require AI. For example, whilst the technology within a CCTV camera that enables facial recognition or number plate recording (ANPR) is not AI, what happens with the data collected by the cameras can be classed as AI. Being able to report incidents to specific individuals or charge fees based on the data collected is just one example.

 

Automated threat detection by Intrusion Detection Systems/Intrusion Prevention Systems are being installed on more and more networks. As data becomes more valuable, more people want your data. Intrusion Detection Systems sit on the Of course, the IDS/IPS needs to learn what is a threat and what isn’t. There are two main ways that these systems know what to report: Signature-based (the threat matches something that is known) or Anomaly-based (the threat is different to other data).

 

These devices sit directly behind the firewall so they can analyse all incoming data to identify potential or actual threats.

 

In summary

We’ve shared a few ways in which we believe AI is going to impact telecoms and business users. It will give entrepreneurs the tools to make their businesses run more smoothly and provide better service to their customers. Embrace it and your business will see the benefits.

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mike Ianiri is Director of independent telecoms brokerage Equinox. Mike works with companies, charities and other organisations to help them choose the right telecoms packages for their needs and thereby reduce their costs. He is particularly knowledgeable on the integration of IT and telecoms in business.  www.equinoxcomms.co.uk

Twitter: @CommsEquinox