Can AI Make Cable Smarter?

Craig Leddy
Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
Craig Leddy
12/28/2017
100%
0%

We've all heard about them and many of us have made them: complaints about cable customer service. Stung by years of criticism for poor service, the cable industry now is shifting its focus to a more modern definition, recasting the notion of customer care in the form of customer experience.

The key to enabling this new model is through artificial intelligence (AI), according to a new Heavy Reading report, "I Cable Robot: Can Artificial Intelligence Make Cable Smarter?. The report discusses cable's growing use of AI to improve service, including network management, daily operations and customer experience.

Rather than just focusing on better service appointment times and customer service calls, U.S. cable providers are evolving to automated operations that enable technicians to proactively manage network functions and give customers greater ability to self-manage their services, the report says. Cable operations are awash in data that serves as the oil to lubricate the machine.

"I think AI is going to change the customer experience profoundly," said Dave Watson, president and CEO, Comcast, during the 2017 SCTE Cable-Tec Expo, where AI was a primary topic. Comcast is culling through its big data to enhance network performance, customer care operations and its X1 platform that increasingly is relying on AI-supported voice commands.

A comprehensive AI system will collect and aggregate data, detect patterns and responses, anticipate trends and behaviors and automatically take appropriate actions.

"AI is an overarching term that encapsulates all attempts to instrumentalize technology with the ability to think and act independently, much like humans do. It refers not only to the software and algorithms that render this capability but the hardware and control systems as well," said Sanjay Dorairaj, senior director of Comcast Innovation Labs, during SCTE.

The report includes recent cable provider initiatives for customer care, use cases for data-driven disciplines and a chart of technology suppliers that provide data management products for cable. Cable providers are applying AI disciplines in various ways, including:

  • Machine learning and proactive network maintenance (PNM) to detect and resolve service issues before they affect customers

  • Algorithms to provide anonymous insight into customer preferences, including when they might buy and when they might churn

  • Autonomous customer care to give customers tools to self-manage services, such as WiFi, and self-provision new applications

  • Virtualization and automation to provide greater visibility into the network and alert technicians and customers to potential issues

In early implementations of AI tools, providers are experiencing a reduction in truck rolls and service calls. Comcast has said X1 is increasing customer retention, usage and satisfaction.

The trick is to aggregate data, integrate it across various operating units and turn it into meaningful actions so that managers aren't drowning in a sea of numbers. Many of the speakers at SCTE said more techniques are needed to share data so that all operating units have visibility across the cable enterprise and managers don't end up in a situation described by CableLabs architect Karthik Sundaresan: "Lots of data, no knowledge."

AI will truly pay off when data becomes actionable, customers can control their experience and the network becomes proactive, Heavy Reading believes. But managers and technicians need to be careful about implementing AI so that they don't create new layers of frustration for customers. AI is only as good as the people who employ it.

— Craig Leddy, Contributing Analyst, Heavy Reading

(11)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
<<   <   Page 2 / 2
rgrutza600
100%
0%
rgrutza600,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/28/2017 | 3:03:53 PM
No value in packages
Comcast provides very little value in their obscenely priced TV packages.  I predict a loss of AT LEAST 2 MILLION TV subscribers for them in 2018.
<<   <   Page 2 / 2
More Blogs from Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
SPRING has sprung in the routing community.
Call it Industry 4.0, Industry-X, Industrial IoT, the Industrial Internet – by any name, it offers tremendous opportunities to transform productivity across many sectors of the economy.
Just like 3G, 4G and Long Term Evolution (LTE), 5G isn't kicking WiFi to the curb. Mixing WiFi with LTE and 5G networks offers mobile operators numerous market opportunities.
Service providers surveyed for this report are cautiously optimistic about automating business/operations support system (B/OSS) – more than half are already taking steps to automate B/OSS, and even more plan to do so within the next two years.
Automation was one of the key themes discussed at the recent Big Communications Event (BCE), including how artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, intent-based networking and open source solutions are all helping CSPs on their journey to zero-touch automation.
Featured Video
From The Founder
John Chambers is still as passionate about business and innovation as he ever was at Cisco, finds Steve Saunders.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
June 26, 2018, Nice, France
September 12, 2018, Los Angeles, CA
September 24-26, 2018, Westin Westminster, Denver
October 9, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
October 23, 2018, Georgia World Congress Centre, Atlanta, GA
November 7-8, 2018, London, United Kingdom
November 8, 2018, The Montcalm by Marble Arch, London
November 15, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
December 4-6, 2018, Lisbon, Portugal
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
The Telco Debt Binge May End Badly
Scott Raynovich, Founder and Principal Analyst, Futuriom, 6/15/2018
Comcast's Bid for Content, Growth & Whatever Comes Next
Phil Harvey, US News Editor, 6/13/2018
Source Packet Routing Gets Real in 2018
Sterling Perrin, Principal Analyst, Heavy Reading, 6/15/2018
Ciena CTO Says No to Skynet, Advocates Adaptive Networks
Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Editor, 6/14/2018
Animals with Phones
Backing Up Your Work Is Crucial Click Here
Live Digital Audio

A CSP's digital transformation involves so much more than technology. Crucial – and often most challenging – is the cultural transformation that goes along with it. As Sigma's Chief Technology Officer, Catherine Michel has extensive experience with technology as she leads the company's entire product portfolio and strategy. But she's also no stranger to merging technology and culture, having taken a company — Tribold — from inception to acquisition (by Sigma in 2013), and she continues to advise service providers on how to drive their own transformations. This impressive female leader and vocal advocate for other women in the industry will join Women in Comms for a live radio show to discuss all things digital transformation, including the cultural transformation that goes along with it.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed