Network Intelligence is the next big step for operators in their quest to enable a more personal and quality customer experience. Operators need to understand how their customers are experiencing their network in real-time and this is where Network Intelligence plays a key role as it refers to the essential business insights gained through end-to-end network visibility across hybrid and virtual networks.
Having a comprehensive and smart view of the network enables operators to assure their services simultaneously, proactively locating and resolving performance issues before the customer is even aware of them. When actionable and intelligent insights are integrated into business decisions and processes, operators can act faster and in a more focused and eventually automated way, taking proactive steps to improve customer loyalty and drive growth.
But how do we see these insights, and the improvements in Network Intelligence, impacting the operator’s relationship with the customer and how will they develop as the network becomes more sophisticated with factors such as automation taking shape?
Customer Experience is the bigger picture
The end goal of improved Network Intelligence is to deliver a higher level of experience to customers, whatever the circumstance. This remains a constant challenge for operators. Operators which can monitor and analyze a user’s behavior and usage, factoring in multiple variables are in a unique position. Looking forward, machine learning will monitor trends in network usage and be able to trigger alarms when the service deviates from a pre-defined baseline, using predictive analytics to drive the network forward. Today we operate using simplistic baselines that are manually calculated, but as machine learning is utilized and becomes more sophisticated, so too will the baselines, recognizing unexpected events, triggering alarms and automatically taking corrective measures to ensure the customer experience is not affected.
Maintaining and assuring the network is also an essential part of the customer experience for roamers, both in and out. Roaming can be a significant revenue stream for an operator, and therefore it is critical that operators provide a quality service. Equally important is monitoring customers who are roaming out of the network and picking up when they have landed in a foreign country and crucially when they fail to connect to a network elsewhere. Intelligently analyzing the issues and taking action at these points, when a customer would otherwise be struggling to connect, will help them to feel valued and improve their overall experience.
As new infrastructures such as NFV are implemented, ensuring the customer experience is not compromised during these changes remains a top priority for operators. To achieve this, operators need to take a 360 view of their subscribers QoE which incorporates voice, data, VoLTE, SMS, fixed mobile and broadband services, and for that a virtualized solution is essential.
There are bound to be problems of any network from time to time. However, for the operator, Network Intelligence means having full end-to-end smart network visibility with the ability to drill down for root cause analysis and troubleshooting at the session level. These tools provide the operator with essential insights that will benefit the operator and enable a reduction in diagnostic and remediation time.
The hunger for Automation
This pressure on response times is also a cause for the need to automate as many operations as possible within Service Assurance. Automation, while not risk-free, is the future. There is always a chance of an error occurring, but the speed in which information can be processed is unrivaled, especially when it comes to repetitive but complexed tasks such as packet brokering and load balancing. For operators, this accuracy allows them to pinpoint issues in the network, and drill down for root-cause analysis, with greater speed and precision.
Moreover, as the industry moves closer towards the practicalities of 5G and IoT, which will create a massive increase in the levels of data seen on the network, operators will have to find ways to maintain the Quality of Service (QoS). These vast quantities of data will need to be processed in real-time, driving the need for edge-computing and automation. Increased volumes in connected devices on a network will also require automated responses in real-time to assure the service quality and user experience. It is precisely these developments which require a higher level of Network Intelligence so that root-cause analysis for faster and more accurate problem-solving.
Automation is a key composite of being able to deliver fast results. As the capabilities of AI grow, the operator will need to learn how to utilize them. A fully automated network is vital in realizing the potential of the transition to NFV. Operators will also need to consider what the customer experience will be like in new environments such as 5G how the network will be able to respond intelligently to the increasing levels of traffic in real-time.
Automation and AI go beyond helping the operator with resolving their network issues. As some operators move towards a more on-demand, personalized service model users can manage their own digital experience which will mean automation is even more essential. Operators need to take all of the insights available to them through multiple channels and create value-added propositions to the customer. By personalizing the experience through cognitive intelligence, Operators can gain network insights on the user which they can use to improve the customer experience.
Operators need to look at their existing processes and what is taking time to see where automation can have the most significant impact. The laser focus here is on the customer. Automation in the visibility layer allows the service provider to manage the network with additional business-critical insights whether in the physical or virtual network. If processes can be done a hundred times faster and with four times the accuracy, then operators need to seize automation with both hands. Automation can acclimate many more factors than a human or a legacy system every could and can, therefore, bring superior results to the customer.
Applying the network intelligence to the needs of the customer is the ultimate goal here. By taking the information generated and managing it in a highly efficient way, that pinpoints errors in real-time, the beneficiary is the customer and overall leads to brand loyalty. These are the targets operators need to keep their focus on, and a fully virtualized solution is essential for operators in attaining end-to-end network insights to provide an intelligent and optimized network in the transition to NFV and 5G. RADCOM’s Network Intelligence portfolio offers a fully virtualized real-time solution from virtual tapping point to network insights assuring a superior customer experience and ultimately ensures end-to-end service quality.