The Wired Operator in a Wireless World, Part 2: Self-Driving Networks

Self-Driving Networks

Let’s face it, providing broadband services is more than just provisioning a gateway. No gateway is the same, provides the same management interfaces, or supports the latest protocol of the respective access technology. Beyond the various nuances at the end of the day, there are specific business drivers that need to be solved: be it providing a new MPLS circuit, activating community WiFi, provisioning telephony, enabling a new service, or providing proactive care. Today’s operators are keenly aware of the need for service agility. Automation is key to ensuring agile and reliable service.

Last week we touched on network topology and subscriber-aware insights. Taking this to the next level would transform that intelligence into business value and automate the work to ensure agile, responsive, and predictable results.

We will touch on three key topics: OPEX reduction, increased subscriber services, and customer loyalty.

OPEX Reduction

A network that is able to dynamically adjust to current customer services is fundamental to all three of these topics. Looking specifically at OPEX reduction, a well-oiled solution can eliminate silos between OSS and BSS, reducing most manual processes for technicians and CSR agents: no more WD-40 for the swivel chair. Network issues can be made visible to CSRs and NOC alike, and in most cases proactive adjustments can be managed via automated means depending on the situation.

Increased Subscriber Services

Today’s subscribers expect a rich offering from the CSP, even if we are exclusively looking at data packages. Many CSPs around the world offer varied packages such as peak-hours burst, unlimited weekends, or even unmetered OTT video. Today’s gateways or tomorrow’s vCPE or virtual service gateway (vSG) offer a potential wealth of value-added services such as parental control, quota limits, or IoT management. As the number of permutations grow and customer needs change, relying on manual processes in this dynamic new world will not scale. Customers want to be empowered to make changes on their own — even temporary services such as prepaid transactions often experience higher QoE if the customer is able to affect the change by themself. Event-based automation is key to agility and scaling.

Customer Loyalty

We are in the age of customer retention, and here automation is fundamental to high customer engagement. With proactive care services, such as automatically optimizing WiFi settings or proactively reaching out transparently to those approaching a quota to give them options to avoid the dreaded bandwidth cap, will result in fewer customer complaints, fewer truck rolls, and happier subscribers.

Next week in the third and final instalment, I’ll expand on leveraging this subscriber intelligence and agile automation for delivering bespoke services.

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