Cox Communications takes a leap forward with Service Health

Cox Communications anticipates and addresses network and customer issues with its AI-based Service Health framework.

Jennifer Clark, Principal Analyst – Cloud Infrastructure & Edge Computing

June 12, 2024

3 Min Read
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(Source: Olga Salt/Alamy Stock Photo)

Cox Communications delivers internet, video and phone services to more than 6 million residential broadband subscribers. Despite its success in serving this broad customer base, the carrier was not satisfied with its problem detection and resolution practices. As Joe Keller, vice president of Operations and Technology Analytics, remarked to me in an interview, "Historically, our industry has relied on our customers to serve as our primary diagnostic, contacting us when they experience an issue."

Since this is a less-than-proactive methodology, Cox needed a better way to anticipate network and customer issues and address them as or before they arose. The carrier developed its "Service Health" framework, a suite of analytic models that predict and prevent customer-impacting issues and improve overall service quality. This framework leverages traditional analytics and harnesses the massive amounts of structured data from cable modems and set-top boxes, enabling Cox to detect patterns of imminent failure.

Incorporating unstructured data

However, Cox also wanted to include customer data to improve problem identification and resolution. As part of Service Health, Cox turned to Amazon Bedrock to enable the carrier to leverage unstructured data, including anonymized customer transcripts from any number of sources, such as online chats, calls and tech journal entries.

Service Health itself is implemented throughout the Cox organization via AWS. All calls, chats or other digital interactions are plugged in. Amazon Bedrock provides Cox with the forensic tools needed to identify optimizations across processes, platforms and policies, enabling the carrier to resolve complex and elusive issues that (until now) were beyond its reach.

Cox uses Amazon Bedrock support for the Anthropic Claude model as part of Service Health. (Anthropic develops general AI systems and large language models as a public benefit corporation. Amazon and Google have each committed over a billion dollars to Anthropic funding.) To keep costs down, Cox has been very intentional about enabling other open source models, such as Hugging Face.

Has it worked?

Cox reports that Service Health has been successful far beyond its expectations. Through Service Health, Amazon Bedrock and Anthropic Claude, Cox has reduced problem resolution times in many cases from 45 minutes to an impressive 45 seconds, according to Keller. From an operational perspective, Cox has greatly extended visibility into network issues, reducing calls, chats and truck rolls. Digital adoption has improved the self-service success rate — by both digital channels and calls.

GenAI in Service Health

The generative AI (GenAI) component of Service Health is in its pilot phase, allowing Cox to perform forensic root cause analyses. About mid-year 2024, the carrier intends to launch a pilot for its network technicians. This pilot will include a generative summary — or a story of a node. The summary is essentially a history of actions taken by technicians as well as any comments from customers associated with that node or network trouble spots. Consequently, technicians and support personnel can better advocate for the customer. After piloting generative summary and search capabilities, Cox will move on to generative content to target individual customers, resolutions and promotional offers more accurately.

According to Cox, the biggest challenge to leveraging GenAI within Service Health was the initial hype surrounding the technology. As Keller remarked, "We're now at a point in the timeline where we have to focus to avoid diluting our effectiveness. GenAI can be a non-trivial cost if not done the right way. The biggest headwind we've had is not getting distracted."

Rightsizing the solution has allowed Cox to enable its people to be "superhumans." Service Health is "augmenting" agents and, as a result, internal support agents and personnel have become enthusiastic about their enhanced ability to identify and resolve customer issues. Keller summed it up succinctly: "Advanced analytics can change the world in a positive way, and I think we are changing the industry with what we're doing."

This blog is sponsored by AWS.

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Heavy Reading Research

About the Author(s)

Jennifer Clark

Principal Analyst – Cloud Infrastructure & Edge Computing

Jennifer Pigg Clark is Principal Analyst with Heavy Reading covering Cloud Infrastructure and Edge Computing. Clark provides actionable insight into service provider evolution, examining the challenges and opportunities facing network operators as they move towards 5G and IoT with an increasingly virtualized and cloud native infrastructure. Clark examines the solutions and technology reshaping the telco data center, technologies such as Edge Computing, Open Source, OpenStack, container networking, Network Orchestration, Software Defined Networks (SDN), Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), and SD-WAN. Clark started her industry research career with the Yankee Group, which was acquired by 451 Research in 2013. She held the role of Sr. Vice President at Yankee Group. Prior to joining Yankee Group, Clark was Manager of Network Planning and Strategy for Wang Laboratories'corporate data network. She began her career at Wang with responsibility for the domestic and international roll-out of Wang's packet network, connecting more than 250 locations in 14 countries. Before joining Wang, she was a member of the IT research and development division of Commercial Union Insurance Companies. Clark is a highly regarded speaker at industry seminars and conferences and is frequently cited by the commercial and trade press. She has been a guest lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management and is a member of the IEEE. She holds a B.A. degree from Mount Holyoke College.

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