CSPs Embrace Machine Learning & AI

Denise Culver
Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
Denise Culver, Online Research Director
11/7/2017
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As up and coming technologies make headlines on what seems like an hourly basis, it's easy to fall into the habit of thinking, "I'll believe it when I see it." But when a majority of communication service providers (CSPs) agree on the usefulness and applicability of an emerging technology early on, it's a good bet that technology deserves a second look.

Service providers from a variety of backgrounds had a chance to discuss numerous technologies in the latest report generated from Heavy Reading's Thought Leadership Council (TLC), Emerging Technology Focus Group: CSPs See Big Promise in Machine Learning. Of the 16 CSPs that participated in the report, 80% already are actively exploring ways to apply machine learning, which enables computers to learn automatically without human intervention and to adjust actions accordingly.

This is the third report generated from the Thought Leadership Council (TLC), which is made up of service providers that are actively involved planning and building new networks and services. TLC members participate in a Q&A forum that's anonymous so they can openly discuss the behind-the-scenes realities of what's happening at the service provider level.

More than a third of TLC members already are actively exploring deep learning, in which artificial neural networks imitate the working of the human brain to process data and create patterns for use in decision making. An equal number are also exploring robotics.

TLC members also have a strong interest in artificial intelligence (AI). Almost 70% of participating service providers already are looking at ways to use AI; one provider explains that its teams are working with vendors to add AI as a third-party offering now, with plans to eventually integrate it into existing offerings.

Service providers in the forum also discussed transformation strategies and associated technologies. While TLC members already are showing overwhelming adoption of DevOps models, about 60% said that using microservices is something that either hasn't been decided or hasn't been thoroughly discussed at this point.

The next TLC focus group report will be on B/OSS transformation. Additional TLC reports will cover 5G and Automation. Focus group reports on IoT and SD-WAN are available.

— Denise Culver, Director of Online Research, Heavy Reading

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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.

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