Telco Operations

Artificial Intelligence in networking based on big data

AI is mentioned as the next trend in the 4th industrial revolution. In the networking area AI could bring benefits in areas such as network predictive maintenance, proactive network fault detection and automatic network extension planning.

AI would have to be setup in conjunction with big data management, e.g. data lakes collecting all types of network behavioral events.

  • AI-bots would then be able to self-learn patterns that lead to network faults and as such predict future calamities such that they can be avoided.
  • AI-bots integrated in equipment could even generate themselves work-orders for equipment repair.
  • AI-bots could also help to identify capacity gaps, coverage issues or network configuration anomalies and suggest network extensions in an automatic way.
  • Learning machines in our diagnostic tools can help us to improve accuracy of diagnostic and to become more pro-active towards our customers
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Augmented reality for field technicians

How to improve and ease interactions between field technicians and back offices using AR tools. Network interventions become increasingly complex for field technicians. They need to master a multi fold of technologies and should know many different methods and procedures.

With AR, they could dispose of a handy tool to get immediate online assistance to look-up the appropriate instructions for the equipment they are handling (e.g. in combination with Google glass alike tools).

This initiative should not only look at the infrastructure needed for this but also on how to bring in existing procedure descriptions in the AR environment.

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Inventory data quality

The level of data quality in Telco’s inventory systems is often low and generates a lot of exceptions in the processes. We are looking how to dynamically and automatically increases the level of data quality by interacting with the deployed equipment and machines in the network.

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IoT in our customer operations

IoT could be applied on a large scale to monitor the assets of a telecom network. IoT sensors could be developed and deployed to measure environmental parameters in telco rooms, but also on pylons or on individual network hardware components. On top of the IoT network layer a management platform should be developed to handle all device events and to allow for decision making.

Next to this IoT devices at our customers premises could help in monitoring the home network quality and based on this quality improvement actions can be triggered. Additionally can the data from these devices be monetized via service offers.

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Converged mobile and fixed concentrators

Historically, telecom networks consist of a mobile and a fixed network which have been built independent from each other. They each have their own access network components, each with their own separate hardware. DSP processing logic of fixed (e.g. VDSL DMT) and mobile (e.g. MIMO) are similar. Moreover, the access nodes (e.g. fixed access concentrator platform and mobile RAN) will reside in the same location (LEX or containerized PoP).

One could imagine that it should be possible in future to build a common hardware platform for both the fixed and the mobile network. Such an architecture would be based on blade based multipurpose fixed/mobile protocol processors residing in the same server and control blades running SDN/NFV based control software. Such an architecture would be inherently fix/mobile converged and would reduce network TCO drastically.

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Cloud based job management systems

In the area of network construction, there are multiple OSS systems in place to handle the job management of network construction (Proximus has 3 systems: one for fixed inside, fixed outside and mobile). In future these systems will have to be replaced and it does not make sense to do this in a like4like approach.

In the end-game, there should be one integrated job-management system handling all facets of a construction project in an integrated way. Setting up such a system in a gradual way would allow Proximus to rethink and largely simplify its operational processes of network construction. Such a system could even be deployed in the cloud.

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Drones in telco

How can drones be used to increase the operational efficiency of telco’s. Drones could be used for field visits, maintenance interventions, site surveys, etc. Some concrete use cases could be developed and investigated for one of above mentioned areas (e.g. Lidar based site survey; Lidar is then mounted on a Drone).

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Self-optimizing Wi-Fi networks

Indoor WIFI gets already improved by technologies such as WIFI meshed networks where a number of WIFI repeaters are installed. A next step could be that some intelligence is brought in the home gateway to measure the state of the environment (e.g. automatic detection of room size and topology, presence of other signals) eventually combined with a floor plan that can be uploaded.

Based on this the home gateway software is able to recommend the optimal location of the WIFI spots. This concept would also allow for a kind of continuous optimization of the WIFI network.

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