Meet the ‘telcobots’ – who can save their operator masters billions and enhance customer engagement

ABI Research's new report has projected that telcos can save up to $1.2 billion on customer care management by 2022 by turning to ‘telcobots’ – or rather, telco virtual assistants.

The report, titled “Artificial Intelligence in Telecom Networks”, said that an increasing number of telcos are turning to artificial intelligence to enhance customer engagement and subsequently cut down churn rates. On top of that some telcos are competing directly with virtual assistants such as Siri and Cortana by introducing their own multi-talented chatbots, such as Djingo and Nugu by Orange and SK Telecom, respectively. ABI Research also projected that AI investments by telcos will touch $14 billion by 2022 with a CAGR of 22.4%.         

Sarju Vasavada, industry analyst at ABI Research, said: "The recent introduction of virtual assistants in customer service signifies the level of urgency within telcos to start emphasizing the importance of customer relationships and customer care management, something they have been taking for granted for decades. Case in point, Vodafone released TOBi, a virtual assistant to address their customer service woes after being fined £4.6 million by U.K. regulators Ofcom for falsely charging more than 10k pay-as-you-go customers for top-up credit. They also had a record-breaking number of customer complaints until TOBi stepped in." 

Meanwhile, Netrounds has released a new research paper on service assurance in the context of big data and AI and an accompanying whitepaper titled "Service Assurance - In Need of Big Data or Small Data?" The whitepaper discusses current service assurance systems and how they relate to AI, big data, machine learning, and deep learning, and adds that big data will ‘not be a cure-all’ for providing answers to difficult service assurance questions customers are asking.

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