Telecommunication Providers Bring Augmented Reality To Life In 2020

 Ravi Kumar Palepu, Vice President - Global Telco Solutions, Virtusa Having more than 20 years of experience in the technology landscape building cutting edge solutions and products Ravi Kumar Palepu has been in the fore front driving digital transformations for various communication service providers. Palepu is a steward who has gained expertise in managing P&L go-to-market strategy and devising non-linear growth leveraging solution and platforms. In Virtusa, Palepu leads the technology council for Telco across locations, issues best practices as well as domain and technical competency for Telco accounts. He has exercised key operations as a part of Global Technology Office leadership and played vital role in filling the void between the GTO and the global Telco accounts.

There are some monumental shifts underway in the telecommunications industry as we enter 2020. Communication Service Providers(CSPs) are being challenged to provide exceptional customer service while reducing OpEx. These pressures come at a time when CSPs all over the world are handling massive volumes of customer service calls around the clock, and while the number of virtual, physical and IoT devices are exploding.

Just a few years ago, CSPs offered a handful of services. Now that number can be in the hundreds making it more challenging to install, configure, diagnose, and fix a growing number of potential issues. With this growing complexity, we see the average time to resolve issues going up along with CapEx and Opex.

To address these challenges, CSPs are looking for new ways to provide “self-service,” solutions that are easy to use and not just for consumers but also for the third-party engineering contractors who are used by most CSPs to handle network and service issues.

Among the hottest trends augmented reality(AR)is emerging as a critical
component of new solutions designed to help resolve issues across thousands of devices and services.But AR on its own isn't enough. The real power of the AR solution comes from a combination of data analysis and artificial intelligence (AI).

In the simplest terms, AR can recognize the device and fetch related information instantly from the backend on the consumer or field engineer app. AI can provide analysis on bandwidth, port, latency, signal to noise ratio etc. on the aggregated data to identify the main fault location, with contextual guided resolution or recommended next best action. Using a solution like this drastically improves the time it takes to resolve issues, while improving customer service and ultimately reducing OpEx.

Among the hottest trends, augmented reality (AR) is emerging as a critical component of new solutions designed to help resolve issues across thousands of devices and services

Now, the consumer can quickly and easily install a new device and self-diagnose and resolve issues without any assistance from the CSP. If the problem can't be self-diagnosed and resolved a ticket is automatically created on the CSP ticketing system with the customers and diagnostic details.

This way when the consumer contacts the call center the service agent will have all the detail to ensures a smooth journey improving customer service and reducing the time per call.This AI driven resolution capabilities has helped reduce the calls to contact centers equipment swaps and improved the repeat truck roll by upto 50%.

These AR solutions are proving to be an excellent tool for consumers and it’s also helping in the field. The same technology can help a cable technician often a third-party contractor to recognize thousands of different devices without the need for elaborative training. Using machine learning the platform can recognize thousands of different devices and improve the efficiency of field force workers while reducing field operations cost by as much as 60 percent.

Some experts predict customer experience will eclipse price as the most important factor influencing buying decisions in 2020. So, it’s more important than ever for CSPs to provide exceptional customer service including more self service tools and faster support. But the reality is that they need to balance pressures to reduce OpEx without sacrificing the customer experience.

2020 is the year it's all made possible, as these applications are proving to be successful for early adopters. Bringing together AR and AI is changing the game for CSPs.

This combination is helping to improve customer service, reduce call volume reduce CPE swaps and make service calls more efficient ultimately helping to drive down costs while improving customer service. For some inspiration, one CSP was able to save over USD2.5M in the first year of adopting an AR-based solution like this and you can expect for others to follow in the year ahead!