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5G

Next-gen data analytics for tomorrow's telcos

Over the past five years, fifth generation (5G) cellular technology has promised to transform numerous industries, using wireless, real-time data to enhance business speed and efficiency, as well as dynamically adapt to changes. In manufacturing, live data enables automated defect detection, process optimization, and equipment compliance monitoring, while similar data streams empower healthcare providers to monitor wearables, perform remote surgery, and deliver telehealth to far-flung locations. Untethered cellular freedom has particularly profound implications for transportation, as real-time data gathered from vast numbers of vehicles and roads can reduce traffic congestion and improve public transport operations; aircraft makers such as Airbus are already using private 5G networks to support unmanned factory vehicles and automate manufacturing.

At this point, the key data-related challenge facing every industry isn't the hardware, software, or infrastructure to harvest haystacks of data, but rather deploying the advanced analytics tools necessary to find the needles hidden inside them. The next round of industrial digitization requires next-generation machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and hyperscale data management capabilities, so enterprises can go beyond merely aggregating information from disparate sources, to producing actionable insights that translate into real-world benefits.

Advanced analytics will enable 5G networks to build themselves

Next-generation data analytics are already yielding concrete benefits for telcos. Major operators are leveraging the geospatial capabilities of modern analytics to identify ideal locations for 5G small cells, determine the best option for field technicians to meet capacity growth at each cell site and optimize network coverage across changing maps. Going forward, operators will use next-generation analytics for end-to-end network visibility and to automate network deployments enabling network self-corrections. Networks will be able to identify and facilitate their own necessary capacity increases, improving both internal operations and customer experiences.

As a prerequisite to deploying next-generation analytics at scale, telcos must redouble their efforts to transition legacy networks to 5G. Critical 5G features such as network slicing depend on networks where both radios and core networks are fully 5G-enabled; older 3G and 4G networks do not support NWDAF, which defines data analytics functionality for the core network architecture. That means the onus is now on telcos to more efficiently and cost effectively facilitate their 5G network transitions, lest Industry 4.0's boldest initiatives struggle to launch based on inadequate network deployments.

Analytics yield dividends for telcos, businesses, and consumers

Data analytics offers the best return on investment for telcos that want to improve their 5G deployments, retain customers, and streamline their networks. Saudi Telecom and Etisalat are among operators already using Teradata’s platform for next best offers and to reduce churn for prepaid customers. The next generation of 5G cloud and data analytics will leverage network-aggregated knowledge to further enhance product and service strategies, including:

  • Customer self-installation experience assistance and measurement. Using real-time data and analytics, telcos can gauge and improve customer self-installations, including path and text analytics to show the full customer journey, event-captured analytics to offer aid during hold-ups, and temporal/times series data analytics to identify common failure points, preventing future issues.
  • Dynamic network management. In addition to using third-party visualization tools to quickly create dashboards to track KPIs, telcos can use real-time data to pinpoint coverage and capacity gaps, then determine the best solution to quickly fill these gaps at the lowest cost.
  • Enterprise digitization. In the early stages of 5G's rollout, telcos have discovered that revenue growth opportunities are largely coming from enterprise customers. Businesses are digitizing their operations to reduce costs, optimize products, and remain competitive. They are combining IoT sensors data, network data, equipment, and customer data analytics for insights for specific locations, and across entire operations.

Conclusion: The brightest 5G future depends on a solid foundation

As telcos work to secure 5G spectrum, laying a proper data foundation with a scalable, robust, modern data architecture and sound data governance is critical to building out networks that can cost effectively scale as needed. Only a modern data architecture will have the flexibility to integrate multiple disparate data sources across different cloud platforms, then support analytics providing real-time, system-level insights across an entire infrastructure and customer base.

Next-generation data analytics give telcos the superpowers they need to define the future of communications. Insights derived from vast amounts of high-quality data will enable automations that reduce operational costs, optimize capital allocation, and optimize customer experiences. With a solid data foundation underpinning increasingly 5G-capable networks, operators will be able to implement analytics at scale, making the most of their capital – and dramatically growing revenues.

– Nadine Manjaro, Director Telecom/IoT Industry Consultant, Teradata

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