LIVE FROM BROADBAND WORLD FORUM, BERLIN: Telecoms operators are not making the most of the significant opportunity offered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to analyse data on their networks, a panel of experts agreed.

The debate between representatives from Vodafone Group, Telekom Austria and Robi Axiata highlighted the wide-reaching potential of customer and service data, which was currently being missed by many providers.

“Are we doing enough?” Vodafone director for research in big data and advanced analytics Nuria Oliver (pictured, right) asked: “There are some tremendous opportunities. The real value is the ability to make sense of the data and this is done with machine learning.”

“Telcos won’t be able to provide good customer experience without understanding their customers, and the best way to understand the customers is through analysis of the data,” she added: “We don’t have a hope of being competitive if our services cannot be personalised.”

Positive progress
Telekom Austria group director for technology and future services, Sascha Zabransky (pictured, centre), added he was “positive and optimistic” on the progress made in this area and the potential for operators to ramp in the future.

“We have improved our capabilities to use data,” Zabransky said: “If we look back where we were two or three years ago, now everyone is doing something to create value out of the data. It is great momentum we have, and have to look at a framework to develop this further.”

“Machine learning can positively impact every line of your profit statement,” he added.

Robi Axiata VP business intelligence Ahmed Saady Yaamin (pictured, left) said he believed operators must start with a defined business case or risk disappointing shareholders and management with data projects.

“We have to move to a data-centric model,” he said: “But it’s important not to start with the technology platform but answer what the business question is. Then you can start with the right data, not every [piece of] data.”