Accelerating telco transformation in the era of AI

AI is redefining digital transformation for every industry, including telecommunications. Every operator’s AI journey will be distinct. But each AI journey requires cloud-native transformation, which provides the foundation for any organization to harness the full potential of AI, driving innovation, efficiency and business value. This new era of AI will create incredible economic growth and...

The post Accelerating telco transformation in the era of AI appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

AI is redefining digital transformation for every industry, including telecommunications. Every operator’s AI journey will be distinct. But each AI journey requires cloud-native transformation, which provides the foundation for any organization to harness the full potential of AI, driving innovation, efficiency and business value.

This new era of AI will create incredible economic growth and represent a profound shift as a percentage impact on global GDP, which is just over $100 trillion. So, when we look at the potential value driven by this next generation of AI technology, we may see a boost to global GDP of an additional $7 trillion to $10 trillion.

Embracing AI will help operators unlock new revenue streams, deliver superior customer experiences and pioneer future innovations for growth.

The AI-powered future cloud for telecommunications

Operators can now leverage cloud services that are adaptive, purpose-built for telecommunications and span from near edge on-premises environments to the far edges of Earth and space to monetize investments, modernize networks, elevate customer experiences and streamline business operations with AI.

Our aim is to be the most trusted co-innovation partner for the telecommunications industry. We want to help accelerate telco transformation and empower operators to succeed in the era of AI, which is why we are committed to working with operators, enterprises and developers on the future cloud.

At MWC in Barcelona this week, we are announcing updates to our Azure for Operators portfolio to help operators seize the opportunity ahead in a cloud- and AI-native future.

Monetize investments and unlock innovation for customers

AI opens new growth opportunities for operators. The biggest potential is that operators, as they embrace this new era of cloud and AI, can also help their customers in their own transformation.

For example, spam calls and malicious activities are a well-known menace and are growing exponentially, and often impact the most vulnerable members of society. Besides the annoyance, the direct cost of those calls adds up. For example, in the United States, FTC data for 2023 shows $850 million in reported fraud losses stemming from scam calls.

Today, we are announcing the public preview of Azure Operator Call Protection, a new service that uses AI to help protect consumers from scam calls. The service uses real-time analysis of voice content, alerting consumers who opt into the service when there is suspicious in-call activity. Azure Operator Call Protection works on any endpoint, mobile or landline, and it works entirely through the network without needing any app installation.

In the U.K., BT Group is trialing Azure Operator Call Protection to identify, educate and protect their customers from potential fraud, making it harder for bad actors to take advantage of their customers.

We are also announcing the public preview of Azure Programmable Connectivity (APC), which provides a unified, standard interface across operators’ networks. APC provides seamless access to Open Gateway for developers to create cloud and edge-native applications that interact with the intelligence of the network. APC also empowers operators to commercialize their network APIs and simplifies their access for developers and is available in the Azure Marketplace.

Run AI-driven networks on a carrier-grade, hybrid cloud platform

AI opens incredible opportunities to modernize network operations, providing new levels of real-time insights, intelligence and automation. Operators, such as Three UK, are already using Azure Operator Insights to eliminate data silos and deliver actionable business insights by enabling the collection and analysis of massive quantities of network data gathered from complex multi-vendor network functions. Designed for operator-specific workloads, operators tackle complex scenarios with Azure Operator Insights, such as understanding the health of their networks and the quality of their subscribers’ experiences.

Azure Operator Insights uses a modern data mesh architecture for dividing complex domains into manageable sub-domains called data products. These data products integrate large datasets from different sources and vendors to provide data visibility from disaggregated networks for comprehensive analytical and business insights. Using this data product factory capability, operators, network equipment providers and solution integrators can create unique data products for one customer or published to the Azure Marketplace for many customers to use.

Today, we are also announcing the limited preview of Copilot in Azure Operator Insights, a groundbreaking, operator-focused, generative AI capability helping operators move from reactive to proactive and predictive in tangible ways. Engineers use the Copilot to interact with network insights using natural language and receive simple explanations of what the data means and possible actions to take, resolving network issues quickly and accurately, ultimately improving customer satisfaction.

Copilot in Azure Operator Insights is delivering AI-infused insights to drive network efficiency for customers like Three UK and participating partners including Amdocs, Accenture and BMC Remedy. Three UK is using Copilot in Azure Operator Insights to unlock actionable intelligence on network health and customer experience quality of service, a process that previously took weeks or months to assess, is now possible to perform in minutes.

Additionally, with our next-generation hybrid cloud platform, Azure Operator Nexus, we offer the ability to future-proof the network to support mission-critical workloads, and power new revenue-generating services and applications. This immense opportunity is what drives operators to modernize their networks with Azure Operator Nexus, a carrier-grade, hybrid cloud platform and AI-powered automation and insights — unlocking improved efficiency, scalability and reliability. Purpose-built for and validated by tier one operators to run mission-critical workloads, Azure Operator Nexus enables operators to run workloads on-premises or on Azure, where they can seamlessly deploy, manage, secure and monitor everything — from the bare metal to the tenant.

E& UAE is taking advantage of the Azure Operator Nexus platform to lower total cost of ownership (TCO), leverage the power of AI to simplify operations, improve time to market and focus on their core competencies.  And operations at AT&T that took months with previous generations of technology now take weeks to complete with Azure Operator Nexus.

We continue to build robust capabilities into Azure Operator Nexus, including new deployment options giving operators the flexibility to use one carrier-grade platform to deliver innovative solutions on near-edge, far-edge and enterprise edge.

Read more about the latest Azure for Operator updates here.

Accelerate business transformation with AI

Operators are creating differentiation by collaborating with us to improve customer experiences and streamline their business operations with AI. Operators are leveraging Microsoft’s copilot stack and copilot experiences across our core products and services, such as Microsoft Copilot, Microsoft Copilot for M365 and Microsoft Security Copilot to drive productivity and improve customer experiences.

  • Last year AT&T launched Ask AT&T, a generative AI tool designed to help employees be more effective, creative and innovative. An early use case for Ask AT&T was to enable software developers to write and refine code — in many cases, AT&T is seeing a 25-50% productivity gain for their developers. Since its launch, the company has identified many other use cases for the solution. Today, approximately 68,000 employees have access to Ask AT&T and are using it for anything from vulnerability remediation in IT to analysis of the vast data flows the company manages on its network. The company is currently training Ask AT&T on contracts and financial materials to assist with HR questions and making our care representatives even more effective at supporting our customers.
  • Teams at Lumen use Copilot to surface relevant policies, summarize tickets and easily find repair instructions from manuals. They can quickly create presentations, new business proposals and statements of work. Giving their workforce the digital tools they need to deliver dramatically improved customer experiences with greater ease is an essential part of the company’s transformation.
  • Telefónica evolves Kernel, its digital framework for the creation of advanced services, to the next level by adding new Microsoft Azure AI services to power every relevant use case with generative AI capabilities at scale. New Kernel 2.0 integrates all the digital services from the Telefónica Group to enable private-first, secure and standardized access to data and APIs, providing a foundation for value-added services that can be developed faster and with higher customer impact.
  • Indonesian-based Telkomsel introduced Veronika — a virtual assistant that integrates Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service. Veronika is rooted in natural language processing and machine learning, and recommends telco packages based on customers’ needs, and it can quickly and accurately address customer concerns. Since deploying Veronika, Telkomsel has been able to address rising call volumes without increasing agents. They have seen a significant drop in call volumes for their agents who are now handling 1,000 calls a day (down from 8,000 previously) and can now focus on increased cross-selling.
  • To increase customer satisfaction, Vodafone will apply the power of Microsoft Azure OpenAI to deliver frictionless, real-time, proactive and hyper-personalized experiences across all Vodafone customer touchpoints, including its digital assistant TOBi (available in 13 countries). Vodafone employees will also be able to leverage the AI capabilities of Microsoft Copilot to transform working practices, boost productivity and improve digital efficiency.

An average operator spends 20% of annual revenue on capital expenditures. However, this investment does not translate into an equivalent increase in revenue growth. Operators need to empower their service teams with data-driven insights to increase productivity, enhance care, use conversational AI to enable self-service, expedite issue resolution and deliver frictionless customer experiences at scale.

Partnering with Microsoft in the era of AI

Together with our partner ecosystem, we are investing in creating a comprehensive set of solutions for the telecommunications industry. This includes the Azure for Operators portfolio — a carrier-grade hybrid cloud platform, voice core, mobile core and multi-access edge compute, as well as our suite of generative AI solutions that holistically address the needs of network operators as they transform their networks.

As customers continue to embrace generative AI, we remain committed to working with operators and enterprises alike to future-proof networks and unlock new revenue streams in a cloud- and AI-native future.

The post Accelerating telco transformation in the era of AI appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.