The Data Revolution

Chris Proctor, CEO Oneserve

The telecoms industry has been dominated by a small number of major players, stuck in their ways who have felt little need to revolutionise. However, these firms have struggled to keep up with the influx of data from the widespread use of mobiles and social networks that are showing no sign of slowing down. Consequently, they are sitting on a huge amount of wasted, unused data; collecting information from a variety of sources such as mobile usage, network equipment and server logs that track customer interactions. Chris Proctor, CEO of Oneserve, explains the impact of this data revolution on the telecoms sector.

Consumers’ demand for the best service experience has increased dramatically since the rise of Netflix, WhatsApp and Facebook, with the main focus on broadband speed and efficiency. To date, the speed of connectivity is continuing to increase at an unprecedented rate – the next generation of 5G is over 100 times faster than current 4G levels. Our now ‘hyper-connected’ society has kept these firms on their toes and those that don’t keep up and meet, or even exceed, customer demand quickly fall out of favour.

Now is the time that telcos need to capture and action their data intelligently to create a better and more efficient service for their customers and in turn, increase profitability.

The power of foresight

The majority of complaints that telco companies suffer from are directly reflective of poor, inefficient services caused by machine downtime. What many telco companies have failed to address is that the majority of machine downtime is preventable, and this is the first step that should be taken to remove this inconvenience for their customers and the companies. Preventable machine downtime costs telecom companies over £200,000 and countless hours of productive work time every year. Companies can easily prevent this high cost that is dragging down productivity levels across the industry by harnessing their data.

Bringing together the IoT, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI), companies can track their machines’ activity and predict when a machine is going to break, crucially before it does. Sensors, attached onto the machine, collect data about the machine’s performance and send it to a central internal system. The AI and machine learning algorithms then analyse this data to map the machine’s behaviour over time and thereby detect when something unusual happens. This is then flagged to an operative automatically so the machine can be fixed before it breaks.

Customer comes first

Firms can collect a huge amount of data on consumers’ demographic, location, and their activity, such as payment punctuality to understand and predict their behaviour. Using this information, telecom companies can understand what the customer wants, before they even want it. In an industry that prides itself on putting the customer first, it’s incredibly important that these firms use and take advantage of the data available to provide the best service.

Using the data gathered from their customers, operators can make firm decisions on when the best time to personally approach their customers is. This personalised service makes customers feel much more important and generates a relationship with the operator; it is now a prerequisite that customers receive tailored data packages, bespoke to their own personal data usage. Further to this, AI algorithms can combine historic data to understand the consumer’s behavioural trends and time the offering of tailored packages to match their usage. For example, providing a special extension of high speed streaming services when they’re running low on data. This is incredibly important in retaining customers and ensuring that they can provide the best service possible, without creating any inconvenience for the customer.

Disrupt – or be disrupted
The increase in efficiency, preventable machine breakdowns and an understanding of customer behaviour all join up the dots to create a better working relationship for operators and customers. As a direct result of the increase in efficiencies, profits for existing telcos can also increase. However, these new technologies have also created scope for disruptors to emerge.

Many start-up telecom operators have pounced on the opportunity to access so much data to ensure that a sterling service is provided. This has widened the monopoly and created a much more open industry where the customer can decide and judge who they want their service with. Now is the time for telecoms to use their data and put it to good use to provide a better service. Those who don’t risk being left behind.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine