Blog | Mar 9, 2021

How Intelligent Automation is Vital to the Rollout of 5G

5g rollout
Intelligent automation can help bring the promise of 5G to fruition.

5G is an exciting technology offering higher bandwidth speeds and lower latency than previous generations of cellular tech. It’s primed to revolutionize new service offerings for both customers and businesses. And it’s the promise of these new services that will provide new revenue streams, while boosting customer and business experience, for years to come.

But along with high expectations there are always challenges. The rollout is a massive undertaking for telecom companies with many moving parts such as:

  • Offering new services, while maintaining excellence with their existing ones.
  • Deploying new equipment, both in-house and on cellular towers.
  • Taking inventory to understand what existing equipment needs to be replaced.
  • Testing, configuration and management of equipment, once in place.

And once the 5G network is up and running, a large amount of data and an increased number of devices will have to attach to the network. Managing this, at scale, is a challenge in itself.

And this is where intelligent automation can help bring the promise of 5G to fruition.

What is Intelligent Automation?

Intelligent automation describes a collective set of combined technologies that deliver a more advanced digital worker. While RPA has the key components for process automation, when infused with more advanced analytical and cognitive skills through artificial intelligence (AI), digital workers gain the ability, with machine learning for instance, to learn, read documents, and conduct rules-based thinking. Where RPA focused on specific tasks, intelligent automation enables enterprise orchestration and the creation of an entire digital workforce (made up of many digital workers) that can deliver every day, around the clock.

How Can Intelligent Automation Assist Telecommunication Service Providers with 5G?

Deployment

Intelligent automation offers service providers a new way to deploy 5G technologies and upgrade faster. Delivering a new digital architecture while maintaining QoS on the existing services that are offered is a challenge. There are physical assets that need to be deployed, as well as backend systems and processes. With intelligent automation, these challenges can be met by utilizing digital workers that will work alongside the human worker. Digital workers add value to the manual, repetitive tasks that come with the deployment, while freeing human workers to focus on more value-added tasks. This will provide greater efficiency and agility to the growing deployment of 5G. Intelligent automation can also reduce 5G deployment times, upgrades, and maintenance by achieving efficiency at scale for site-surveys and audits.

The Network Operations Center of the Future

Managing 5G and other emerging technologies (as well as the other new services they bring) alongside the existing network, is also a challenge. And when 5G starts to scale with more devices and services, managing the network gets harder. Adding to all of this is the pressure to maintain customer expectations for both new and existing services. In such a competitive environment, the last thing telecoms need is a series of network outages.

To address this there’s a need to look at the network operations center (NOC) - specifically how the NOC is run today and how it can be transformed for the future.

The NOC of today is technology focused. Technicians are inundated with information, such as alarms, performance measures, network topology, and network and service transactional data. But they lack an effective way to diagnose and resolve issues quickly. In fact, analyzing and identifying the problem is one of most time-consuming tasks performed in the NOC.

In the interim, mean time to repair (MTTR) is affected, impacting network and service availability. This has a direct effect on operational efficiency and customer satisfaction related to service levels. And in a competitive business, maintaining the customer experience is critical.

Equipment vendors offer out-of-the-box automation to assist in troubleshooting issues or gaining insight into the network. However, most 5G networks are not built with equipment from a single vendor. Instead, networks are built with multiple vendors, each with different automation capabilities. This is where intelligent automation comes in. Digital workers can work alongside human workers to fill in any gaps left by the different levels of automation provided out of the box. Intelligent automation also enables analytical and cognitive analysis to resolve problems in the network. Once the right resolution is determined, digital workers then trigger how this resolution is executed and implemented. This approach also works when introducing new services, as well creating a more efficient and agile way of operating.

5G promises new services for consumers and businesses alike, and these new services will create a revenue boom for telecoms. With this comes greater expectations and significantly more data user subscribers and bandwidth demands. It's important for telecoms to prepare for this scale. Intelligent automation is a critical technology that will enable efficiency and agility when scaling 5G, so telecoms can realize revenue and other benefits expected from 5G .

To learn more about how intelligent automation can help with the rollout of 5G, listen to our Generation Digital Workforce Podcast where Blue Prism’s Jerry Hubbard explores how the telco industry is managing the demand for services.

You can also read our white paper on how to 'Transform the NOC to Maximize 5G' or visit Blue Prism’s telecommunications industry page.

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