LIVE FROM GSMA M360 APAC, SEOUL: Sanjay Kaul, president of APAC and Japan for Cisco’s service provider business (pictured), ranked AI as a vital ingredient for mobile operators to generate new revenue streams, along with private 5G, IoT and multi-cloud offerings.

Kaul said the range of use cases coming on the market indicates AI is not another nice thing to have.

“It will have a direct relationship on financial indicators, whether that’s your revenue or your costs.”

He cited figures projecting AI for operators to be a $38.8 billion market by 2030, growing at 42.4 per cent annually.

Thomas Sennhauser, CTO for networking and communications for Asia Pacific and Japan at Intel, agreed about the revenue potential of AI.

But he noted different levels of AI will be needed, depending on the application and use case.

“The take away is it’s a huge market, but it’s not a one-box solution.”

Sennhauser highlighted the importance of making AI open for everyone. “We need to have an open software stack that allows others on join. It’s not a good thing if one company dominates everything, it’s not helping drive innovation.”

He said more than 80 per cent of AI workloads are currently driven on non-GPU systems and downplayed the hype of how important these processors are to run compatible services.

Turning to operators’ changing role,

Kaul noted operators roles have changed from selling connectivity to experiences.

“As an industry, we have been warned about being a CSP,” he said, arguing operators must provide “the digital value play” to everything that benefits from intelligent and secure connectivity.

He added operators must go beyond evolving from service providers to tech companies, becoming digital value players.

“That’s where the rubber hits the road and true monetisation happens.”