Indian telcos need to address ever increasing levels of data traffic: Igor Maurell, Ericsson

According to Ericsson, Communication service providers around the world recognize the need for immediate action on AI and automaton in their operations. Here, Igor Maurell, Head of Network Operations, Ericsson South East Asia, Oceania and India, tells us more. Excerpts from an interview:

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V&D: Why is automation important for Indian operators?

Igor Maurell: With the advent of 5G and the surge in mobile data traffic, networks are becoming more complex. To handle current requirements and be future ready, telecom operators need to be prepared to manage the network complexities while ensuring efficiency from cost, network and operations standpoint.

To mitigate these complexities operators are looking to automate their network architecture. To this effect, we are seeing an increased adoption of technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning towards automating network operations and its management. With automation, not only can the operators be better prepared to manage complexities in the network – It will also help them in providing better customer experiences, thereby strengthening their revenue streams.

V&D: What are the major complexities in Indian telecom networks, and how are operators addressing them?

Igor Maurell: Ever increasing levels of data traffic is a challenge that telecom operators need to handle. In fact, Ericsson Mobility Report predicts that data traffic will reach up to 22EB/month in 2025 from 6.9EB/month in 2019. Apart from data traffic, network down time, energy consumption and inter-frequency issues are some of the other challenges that the operators face. In order to transform these challenges into opportunities, operators are increasingly adopting technologies such as AI and ML in order to better manage their network operations.

Today, we are seeing some level of AI already being incorporated into networks. We are addressing AI-driven automation operational demands through Network Intelligence, which combines three pillars –data, analytics and insights – to tackle the increasing complexities of modern networks and prepares service providers for 5G. Network Intelligence brings simplicity to network complexity through advanced, data-driven analytics that give fresh, unlocked insights and helps service providers understand network data, as well as predict and pre-empt faults, instead of reactively troubleshooting them.

Ericsson’s depth of end-to-end domain product experience, comprehensive data-driven solutions and culture of global knowledge-sharing, reinforced by a broad information library, uniquely positions us to support service providers to make an effective transition to data-driven operations. This is augmented by speed, which is essential in capturing and acting upon insights.

V&D: How open are the operators in adopting AI-based automation?

Igor Maurell: Apart from creating efficiencies in order to achieve higher revenues, providing an enhanced customer experience is high on the agenda of the service providers. Communication service providers around the world recognize the need for immediate action on AI and automaton in their operations to boost cost-efficient customer experiences as the 5G-driven Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0 gathers pace. In fact, according to an AI & Automation report by Ericsson, 90% of operators state that AI is important in boosting customer experience.

V&D: How much reduction in operational efficiencies can operators expect through automation?

Igor Maurell: From a capex perspective, with automation, operators can reduce operational costs significantly and introduce services more quickly. In fact, as per our reports 70% of operators believe the highest potential return from AI adoption will be in their network planning, whilst 64% intend to focus their AI efforts on network performance management.

In addition to this, with automation we can see an improved speed of fault detection and resolution, leading to improved network performance. Here, automation creates significant efficiencies and frees up our engineers from having to undertake repetitive manual tasks, allowing them to focus on providing more value-added services.

V&D: How is Ericsson helping operators in maintaining quality of service?

Igor Maurell: The Ericsson Operations Engine directly addresses operator’s network complexity challenges using AI, automation and data insights. It addresses targeted business outcomes for operators such as enhanced customer experience, revenue growth and efficiency. Ericsson recently launched two new AI powered offerings in its Network Services portfolio. They employ AI, automation and predictive analytics to address the complex reality faced by operators such as exponential data growth and introduction of new technologies.

V&D: How can you ensure security in an AI-enabled autonomous network?

Igor Maurell: Security is top priority for us as next-generation networks will carry an abundance of industry and consumer data. Using AI and automation is a positive from a security perspective. Ericsson’s evolved network security is the pioneer of a simpler yet more robust era of telecom security.

Our market-leading solutions equip operators with autonomous, end-to-end telecom security – built in each layer of the network and securing all connected things everywhere. The Ericsson Operations Engine built-in data, user and network security to be fully compliant with global standards and regional regulations.

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