WHY AI? When it comes to managing the sale of mobile tower infrastructures, it’s time to ask: why not ai?
The following blog is a condensed version of a longer white paper. Click here to download the full version.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming an increasingly crucial tool for businesses to futureproof their operations, but the mobile tower sector has been slow to adopt it. While mobile network operators (MNOs) and telecom tower companies (TowerCos) have invested in forward-facing AI projects, most have not explored the full potential of the technology for tower management. The complexity of managing thousands of towers spread across large terrains and complicated geographies has left many struggling to deal with rapidly increasing torrents of data, unmanageable alert protocols, and a continued reliance on reactive and manual processes.
To unlock the benefits of AI, it is important to understand that it is not a silver bullet solution that replaces human workers but rather a tool that augments existing processes and projects. AI is capable of dealing with vast swathes of data and developing models to solve problems, allowing workers to focus on more complex and creative tasks. For example, AI can optimize equipment at a telecoms mast site by assessing data from sensors across the site to create predictions about what will happen in critical areas looking ahead. This enables operators to make more informed decisions about site availability and minimize costs.
What artificial intelligence does is deal with these vast swathes of data and, through algorithms that can be tailored towards your bespoke strategy and objectives.
Resistance to implementing predictive capabilities on the infrastructural or operations side means companies are wasting data that already exists within their organizations. AI can be used to leverage this dormant information for immediate improvements, while triggering continuous improvement, generating even more data and creating a positive cycle that gains momentum. Beyond realizing the benefits of AI, adopting this technology also paves the way for wider digital transformation ambitions.
The scope of data proliferation is exponential in both established and emerging markets, making it vital for the mobile tower sector to adopt AI. In Africa, despite economic uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, more than $52 billion will be invested in mobile infrastructure rollouts between 2019 and 2025. In South Asia, 33% of the population was connected to the mobile internet in mid-2020, a number which has almost doubled since 2014. McKinsey projects the number of IoT devices to increase threefold between 2018-2023, implicating a total of 40 billion connected devices across the globe.
The imminent rollout of 5G will compound the challenge of having more data to work with, more capacity required, faster decisions expected, and more upgrades needed to cope. This pace of change will quickly and starkly shine a light on network resilience, operators’ readiness to adhere to ‘smart infrastructure,’ an ability to link passive and active network data and to model respective costs, and to actually increase the value of their towers through 5G.
To achieve this level of transformation and to make sense of this data surge is simply impossible without automated, algorithmic help. And delaying ways to try and manage it more effectively won’t improve that long-term outlook.
PowerX AI is continuous and its efficiencies can be monitored forever, so the yielded savings and improvements become part of the fabric of your business; not just an initial consequence of a new investment.
AI isn’t just a coping mechanism, but a way to evolve, improve, differentiate, and futureproof. The next step towards complete adoption is understanding both AI’s advantages and limitations. Taking the enigma out of the solution will make it more attainable and will finally change the discussion from ‘why AI?’ to ‘why not AI’?