Working efficiently to deliver your connectivity in extraordinary times
We are in the middle of an unprecedented global pandemic. Most of us are still working from home, isolated from our networks, and we are all concerned about the impact the crisis will have on our families, communities, and the global economy. Communication Service Providers (CSPs) and their employees are playing a key role in this exceptional situation, by keeping us connected, to our loved ones, to information, to medical services, to work and to hobbies.
Exceptional situations in which communications become critical are not rare: remote work has been gradually increasing across the world. Even before the global pandemic, the number of elderly people living alone was rising in developed countries, raising the need for remote doctor visits. The need for online education from primary education to university degrees has also been increasing. And these are just two cases where it applies.
Nokia’s customers are good examples of how relevant CSPs are in our lives today:
- For a fixed CSP, streaming traffic increased by 300% in the first week of the quarantine, mainly driven by YouTube and Netflix, and causing an overall 200% increase in traffic.
- Applications needed to work remotely such as Webex or Skype for business also experienced a huge increase in traffic, 1000% and 600% respectively.
- And gaming traffic increased by 600%, with the number of subscribers gradually increasing for family games and people playing all day with the same level of usage until late in the night.
- For mobile CSPs in developing countries, mobile traffic also increased since quarantines began by an average of 20% to 50% as people without a fixed internet connection at home were depending on their mobiles for connectivity.
How are these CSPs ensuring that people can continue communicating and enjoying their favourite applications? And how does that impact their employees?
Service operations teams monitor experience metrics in real time 24/7, but having real time insights is not enough. Acting efficiently on the insights is very important in any situation and critical in exceptional scenarios.
Concretely, it is key to first understand what requires immediate action and what doesn’t, in terms of impact on customer experience and the CSP’s business. Second, the team must quickly and accurately identify the cause of an issue to enlist the right team to resolve the problem. For example, engineering teams should be engaged if radio optimization is required, but customer care teams are involved if the customer needs to be reached via a self-care app to reconfigure their Wi-Fi.
Today, CSPs can predict and prevent issues before they happen, reducing critical events and improving the lives of support teams. With modern network analytics tools, service operations analysts can leverage long-term big data and machine learning to identify patterns and anomalies which equip them to act proactively by predicting issues before they happen. They analyse KPIs which have a direct impact on the remote work experience, the gaming experience or the doctor visit experience, both from the network perspective and the connectivity to the application provider.
Big app players like PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox and Webex are already optimizing their apps to cope with the increased traffic, but this is not the case for some small players. If the service operations team identifies degradations in app server response times, especially if it impacts the experience of high value customers, the CSP can work with the app provider to optimize the end-to-end experience. Identifying these degradations allows care teams to respond informatively to customers and avoids focusing resolution efforts internally when the problem originates externally.
If the issue is related to the network, for example, high congestion in a DSLAM which is potentially causing an important experience degradation, the service operations team can identify the root cause rapidly with analytics and trigger its resolution towards engineering to add capacity.
Machine learning also plays a key role in the accurate diagnosis of issues and recommending actions which are communicated automatically to the responsible parties. For example, field engineers receive direction to resolve a problem with fixed access rather than having to troubleshoot it for an extended period. The field engineer can close the loop by giving feedback to the self-learning system if the diagnosis was correct or not.
Nokia Digital Insights solutions provide CSPs with the customer intelligence to monitor, analyze and predict customer behavior, issues impacting experience across touch points, and recommended actions. Advanced Consulting Services provides the business and process expertise to support CSPs with adoption and outcome monitoring. These Nokia solutions with automation and intelligence help CSPs improve customer and employee experience and boost efficiency.
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