Artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot topic. It can seem a bit bamboozling so let look at it in relation to your business telecoms and how they can be improved.
Let’s start with a brief definition: Artificial intelligence is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems. These processes include learning (the acquisition of information and rules for using the information), reasoning (using rules to reach approximate or definite conclusions) and self-correction.
So, if AI is about getting machines to think like humans, it will be particularly useful in the realm of communication. Here are five areas to consider:
Prioritising Electronic Communication
We all get huge amounts of electronic communication. Knowing if something is a priority or not can be difficult. Any productivity expert or business coach worth their salt will recommend you develop a priority matrix, but simply finding time to go through everything can take up a significant chunk of your day. Productivity is negatively impacted and your state of mind takes a nosedive as you filter the communication and decide whether it is a Quick Win or a Thankless Task.
AI can help here. Products such as Celaton can process that content and prioritise is for you. Of course, you still need to check most of the electronic information you are sent but having it in a priority order will be invaluable.
No More Press One for…
When you call a business getting Press 1 for Accounts, press 2 for Sales… etc. must be one of the most infuriating things to hear.
We are already used to talking to machines including Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri. Apple claim over half a billion people use Siri, although other articles suggest only 3% of usage is in public. Amazon’s Echo and Dots accounted for 67% of the sales of smart speakers in 2018, so there are a lot of people talking to smart devices. How long before call routing takes a leaf out of their book and uses AI to route your calls?
Why shouldn’t there be a Virtual Assistant on the end of every call? You simply tell them what you are looking for and it routes your call accordingly. No longer having to enter your choice during umpteen menu options, having to go back a couple of steps [and then go forward again] before you get to talk to a human who can answer your question.
Identifying Genuine Leads
Your business electronic communication goes beyond emails to include social media etc. Unless someone overtly says, “I want to buy something”, it’s not always easy to spot the potential buying signals. AI algorithms could search through the electronic noise to spot the buying signals, whether based on word or tone, and then route that information into the Sales team.
IT and telecoms operators have been able to monitor their infrastructure for years. Knowing when a server or a switch goes down is vital to maintain network performance and products such as Solarwinds, ManageEngine and Datto’s RMM have been around for a long time. However, monitoring, reporting and then resolving issues such as fire and intrusion require AI. For example, whilst the technology within a CCTV camera that enables facial recognition or number plate recording (ANPR) is not AI, what happens with the data collected by the cameras can be classed as AI. Being able to report incidents to specific individuals or charge fees based on the data collected is just one example.
Automated threat detection by Intrusion Detection Systems/Intrusion Prevention Systems are being installed on more and more networks. As data becomes more valuable, more people want your data. Intrusion Detection Systems sit on the Of course, the IDS/IPS needs to learn what is a threat and what isn’t. There are two main ways that these systems know what to report: Signature-based (the threat matches something that is known) or Anomaly-based (the threat is different to other data).
These devices sit directly behind the firewall so they are able to analyse all incoming data to identify potential or actual threats.
Managing Data with Care
In AI planning you need to consider very carefully what you can and cannot do with the data.
GDPR is the most obvious issue. When collecting data, you need to be very specific about what the data will be used for, particularly with consumer data.
There could be other legislation that relates to your industry sector and the type of data you are processing using AI. It’s recommended that you check meticulously so that time, effort and money are not wasted on an AI project that you cannot use.
Technology will continue to progress and to automate many tasks so understanding what AI can do for your business is important. We have shared just a few examples of how we believe AI is going to impact telecoms, both the industry and users. It will make our lives and those of our customers easier (particularly if it takes away call-routing!)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Ianiri is Director of independent telecoms brokerage Equinox. Mike works with companies, charities and other organisations to help them choose the right telecoms packages for their needs and thereby reduce their costs. He is particularly knowledgeable on the integration of IT and telecoms in business. www.equinoxcomms.co.uk