By Mike Ianiri, Equinox
It seems that Artificial intelligence (AI) is being talked about everywhere. But what is it and can it improve telecoms (whether that is landline, VoIP, Mobile or fibre/copper broadband) in your business?
What is AI?
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.
In summary, AI is about getting machines to think like humans. This means there are a number of ways in which AI will be useful for your business
No more call-routing
When you call a business Press 1 for Accounts, press 2 for Sales… etc. can be infuriating.
Large number of us have got used to the idea of talking to our smart devices such as Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri. How long before call routing takes a leaf out of their book and uses AI to route your calls?
Imagine having 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 seemingly endless menu options.
Identifying Hot Leads
You receive huge amounts of electronic communication into your business: emails, social media etc. Unless someone says direly, “I want to buy X”, 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.
Prioritising Electronic Communication
It can be hard to identify a priority in your electronic communication. Any productivity expert worth their salt will recommend you develop a priority matrix but finding time to go through everything can be tricky. Productivity can be reduced, 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 products such as Celaton can process that content and prioritise is for you.
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. 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
Within any AI planning you need to think very careful about what you can and cannot do with the data.
The most obvious issue is GDPR. When collecting data, you need to be very specific about what the data will be used for, particularly with consumer data.
There may also 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 carefully so that time, effort and money are not wasted on an AI project that you cannot use.
Despite concerns that some people have we believe that AI is an invaluable support tool. There is little chance of turning the tide so now is the time to consider how you can make the most of AI in your business.
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