What business owners need to know about development in AI and telecoms

April 3, 2019

AI is essentially about getting machines to think like humans, which means that it can help your business communications in a number of ways.

Let’s look at five ways in AI can provide a benefit to your business.

Reading 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.

The end of 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 such as Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri. Apple claimover 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 get to talk to a human who can answer your question.

Sorting out priorities

As mentioned, we all get huge amounts of electronic communication. Knowing what is a priority, and what isn’t, is not easy. Any business coach or productivity expert worth their salt will recommend you develop a priority matrix, but simply 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 Celatoncan process that content and prioritise is for you. Of course, you still need to check most of the electronic information you are sent but having it in a priority order will be a big help.

Threat detection

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 are able to analyse all incoming data to identify potential or actual threats.

Planning AI Projects

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.

These are five examples of how we believe AI will impact telecoms. Some people have concerns about AI, for example in terms of how intrusive it might be, or whether it will negatively impact jobs.   However, we believe it should make our lives easier as it proves to be a highly effective support tool for businesses of all sizes.

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

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