Category: Artificial Intelligence, Telecommunications
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Is AI the death of the telecom engineer?

The function of AI

AI is challenging many industries globally. The development of AI computer systems, and their ability to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, has led to a massive increase in the speed and capability of telecom companies in their approach to a forever improving service. But, what benefits can customers expect from these advancements and what concerns are there for those who may be over-shadowed by machines?

The introduction of the cloud has presented a window of opportunity to technological evolution seekers, with physical infrastructures set to become an outdated technology. The arrival of artificial intelligence offers a continuously evolving, self-sufficient network with the ability to run independently with minimal human management. AI’s algorithms monitor the behavior of networks to detect events that require action and provide a suitable solution. Through experience, the technology learns and adapts in order to provide continuously more efficient solutions using the past events as reference.

Benefits for all?

While the advantages are apparent to the investing company with the cutting of running costs, uncertainty for the future exists for the employee. Due to the proposed networks ability to “self-heal,” maintenance requirements are kept to minimum meaning less call outs for engineers and few spaces for current network managers. Such technology is still in development however and relief can be found in the fact that machine learning does not meet the majority of carrier requirements in regards to accuracy implying there will always be circumstances to favour human expertise over computer.

What does this mean for the industry?

AI development opens a range of prospects as far as telecom companies are concerned, and promises further advancements in the future. AT&T are one such company looking to the future with the introduction of the Domain 2.0 initiative. With this AT&T aim to transform network and infrastructure into a system resembling a cloud computing service through the use of NFV developments, decreasing the amount of proprietary hardware required to launch and operate network services. Over the past eight years the wireless network traffic has increased by 100,000% for AT&T and with the introduction of the initiative date set for 2020, they look to be relying on it for running 75% of the network.

What’s in it for the customer?

Innovation ensures increased customization and improved levels of service. The Amelia software set up by IPsoft offers such benefits through the replacement of service desk and customer service agents in preference of an AI that learns the company’s business processes and emulates human intelligence. What this means for the customer is a computer that naturally interacts and learns from observation and experience with customers to determine how problems may be resolved and ensures that requests are fulfilled.

Vodafone offer similar technology through their chatbot, TOBi. Designed to handle customer service questions, TOBi provides faster handling of service questions and speeds up responses to the simpler customer queries meaning shorter waiting times for issues that can be dealt with easily. This has the positive knock on effect of more time available to customer service workers who can better focus on the more complex issues that may arise creating a more speedy and efficient service.

What do developments mean for AI specialists?

There are opportunities for AI specialists within many IT roles in telecom such as software development, systems design and programming. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in all computer related fields was expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations until at least 2016 and continues to grow now, and that includes AI specialists. In terms of salary, the prospects are very beneficial, the average salary for a job using AI is $113,000, with more than 24,210 specialists employed nationally. As a continually emerging and developing industry there is a constant demand for AI software personnel meaning an ever increasing amount of opportunities for prospective specialist employees in all areas of artificial intelligence.

How can I join this industry?

Working in artificial intelligence requires a computer technology and math background with entry level positions requiring at least a bachelor’s degree with supervisor/administrative roles looking more towards master’s or doctoral qualifications. For more information about the top universities to gain qualifications in this field for the UK look here and for the USA look here.

What’s there for you?

At First Point Group, our mission is to link specialist telecom and technology talent with prospective companies. If you feel you have the insight and experience necessary and are looking for new opportunities then fill out the form below and we will be in touch!

Alternatively if you have any queries about what role may suit you or need more advise do not hesitate to email me:

ahastings@firstpointgroup.com