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Can 5G Rollout Be Managed by Robots?

by Blogs & Opinions
Article ImageThe age of 5G has finally arrived. While service users anticipate the prospects of super-fast, wide-ranging unlimited connectivity that will come at no extra cost to the user, communications service providers (CSPs) now have the challenge of making it a reality. Perhaps it's not surprising that this process will be a little more complicated than meets the eye.

CSPs need to prepare their 5G networks for a tide of users who are eager to embrace pioneering technologies like XR (extended reality), IoT (Internet of Things) and connected AI (artificial intelligence) on a larger scale than ever before.

Not only will these technologies be expected in public services such as schools, hospitals, businesses, transport systems and utilities, they are also rapidly evolving before 5G has even been launched in a majority of regions across the UK.

Many CSPs have been prepared for the scale of this transition and have undertaken a large part of the legwork in terms of hardware, software and operational structures in advance. Many have introduced automation tactically throughout their processes in anticipation of huge work volumes.

However, there are natural limitations to what can be achieved to expand networking capabilities before 5G has arrived. CSPs which are yet to start their 5G journey can expect a long and grueling trip ahead without the right management systems.

Ironically, the technologies 5G has been developed to support may well offer the solution to a successful rollout.

Cutting costs
Purchasing spectrum will come at a significant cost to CSPs. As a requisite technology for the provision of 5G it will be an unavoidable expense. Equally unavoidable, key investments in core and radio access networks as well as hardware updates will be needed to account for the greater cell density and tower infrastructure that allows 5G to function.

While these initial costs can be anticipated as a necessary investment as CSPs enter the 5G game, running costs can be kept down as a method of softening the blow. DPA (digital process automation) enables end-to-end automation and manages process robotics in a scalable way and can be used to reduce overall running costs resulting from process inefficiencies.

Removing error some, sluggish, manual processes is one way in which DPA can achieve cost efficiency. It manages individual tasks across the organization according to vendor, partner or department. DPA takes a holistic approach to enterprise system architecture, which can identify areas of low performance as they occur and stamp them out to gain market advantage.

By design, the function of DPA goes far beyond the use of robotics. Simply automating a process does not offer the solution needed to eradicate its flaws in legacy systems. Robotic automation transformations alone are not capable of managing the complicated rule-based decisions which connect multiple systems and functions. Neither can they orchestrate both humans and automation to complete an end-to-end process.

In fact, if allowed to persist bottlenecks will continue to slow processes which an army of robots performing repetitive functions would not be able to remedy. This is the reason true end-to-end automation using DPA offers an advantage. While it leverages robotics to automate tasks as needed, it operates in the context of end-to-end processes. Maintaining context to combine end-to-end automation with robotics enables effective processes anywhere, anytime.

Making sales
5G rollout that embraces DPA technology eliminates the process inefficiencies that act as barriers to introducing the service to market. Not only does this offer the potential for higher returns, but the CSPs quickest to market gain contractual advantage as new connected devices emerge.

Real-time intelligence, robotic automation and dynamic case management architectures are all available benefits of DPA. Technologies like these can be applied to crucial tasks such as assisting with budgets, hardware performance, procurement, and staff management. Big tech companies like Google and Cisco have adopted this approach to reduce outages and maximize network capacity potential.

Quality control
5G priorities include overall network quality, coverage range and customer service. 4G congestion will introduce barriers to achieving the outstanding operability that has been promised to B2B and B2C customers ahead of rollout.

DPA processes can be used to monitor both 4G and 5G networks following switch-on to maintain customer experience. Service management criteria such as staff, materials and processes will need to be kept constant in order to provide a reliable service that is worth the wait.

The benefits of 5G are yet to be seen but have not been subject to dispute. There are few customers who would turn down the opportunity to increase data speeds, improve device intensity and receive a service with lower latency. 5G also offers the promise of reduced energy use. CSPs hope to use these benefits to introduce new services and IoT application tools. In terms of enterprise, 5G is an economic gold mine which encourages growth in new markets which embrace the latest 5G-enabled digital capabilities.

While consumers are likely to experience hardware and front-end services much more frequently, it is DPA that will drive back-end process performance for flawless integration. This is why DPA adoption by CSPs and network infrastructure providers will be an incredibly smart move.

CSPs will need to align mission-critical data with existing protocol so they can cut costs without cutting corners. The benefits of DPA are far more complex within the context of 5G than simply a solution to one issue. In fact, it can be used as a longitudinal solution to innovation by CSPs. Its end-to-end visibility, improvements to internal process efficiencies and network analysis capabilities make DPA a sustainable tool for adapting to changes in the industry as they emerge.

— Kevin Billings, Director and Communications Industry Principal, Pegasystems

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