Telcos Are Seeing Benefits from AI and Robotics, but They’ll Need to Boost Investment—and Collaboration—if These Technologies Are to Transform the Industry, According to This Year’s Telco IT Benchmarking Study, Conducted by ETIS and BCG
TALLINN, October 6, 2017—Artificial intelligence and robotics have transformed an array of industries, from automotive to e-commerce. Can they do the same for telecom operators? The idea that what’s good for General Motors is good for telcos might seem a bit unorthodox, but a new report by ETIS, The Community for Telecom Professionals, and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) suggests that telcos are starting to reap important benefits from similar technologies. Notably, they’re seeing boosts to both efficiency and the customer experience—a double win in an environment in which competition and price pressure remain key challenges.
The report, titled Time to Double Down on AI and Robotics, looks at the IT costs and spending patterns of operators participating in this year’s telco IT benchmarking study (TeBIT). In addition to defining the potential of AI and robotics, this year’s TeBIT study offers a caveat: telcos are taking a tentative approach to investing in this new area. While other industries are spending heavily on these technologies, telcos are making only modest outlays, which may prevent them from exploring the full range of applications that are now—or soon will be—available.
What’s keeping telcos from embracing AI and robotics? The TeBIT survey reveals a number of obstacles: AI and robotics constitute new ground for telcos, many of which lack the required skills and experience to work with the technologies; it can be difficult to integrate with legacy platforms; and benefits are not easily measured.
If telcos are to find out whether AI and robotics can be big for them, too, they’ll need to increase investment as well as collaboration—working with vendors and working together to tackle the challenges.
Thomas Krüger, an associate director at BCG, presented these and other key insights from TeBIT in conjunction with the benchmark’s official release at the ETIS Community Gathering. This year’s event, “Shaping the Digital Ecosystem of the Future,” is being held at the Hilton Tallinn Park Hotel, in Tallinn, Estonia, and is bringing together more than 190 telecom professionals, 66% of whom represent telcos and are willing to share best practices on key information and communications technology issues and trends.
In addition to the benchmark results, this year’s TeBIT report features interviews with two telco executives: Paul Slot, the chairman of ETIS, and Ramzi Hamouda of Swisscom. Each provides a unique perspective on the potential—and challenges—of AI and robotics. Such sharing of experiences and insight has been a hallmark of the TeBIT study since its launch in 2011. By openly sharing data in order to encourage discussion and the exchange of knowledge, telcos can both gauge their own performance and help steer the industry forward.
A copy of the report can be downloaded at www.bcg.com or requested from firstname.lastname@example.org.
ETIS is the trusted community for telecom professionals. Our goal is to enable our members to reach their strategic objectives and to improve their business performance by sharing knowledge on industry challenges and by collaborating where possible. For more information, please visit www.etis.org.
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