For telecom enterprises that have to constantly deal with process-related complexities and massive chunks of data, IoT can uncover new ways of enabling efficiency and real-time decision making.
Here we interact with Prateek Pashine, Head–Enterprise Business, Tata Teleservices and Anuj Bhalla, Vice President & Business Head, Global-System Integration & Maintenance Services & Products, GIS Wipro to understand the various complexities faced by telecom companies in a new technology era and how this can be resolved with IoT solutions.
The IoT interaction is being featured here as part of a series of joint CxO dialogues, which aim to delve deeper into the transformational impact that disruptive technologies are triggering in specific business domains. Excerpts
As a telecom major, Tata Teleservices would be working with a huge number of physical assets that needs to be monitored constantly. How big is the challenge for you in terms of handling these assets?
Telecommunications is a very capital-intensive industry, with the fixed assets of network infrastructure forming a large part of a telecom company’s balance sheet whether it is a fixed line, mobile or fiber network, backbone or last mile. Given the constant evolution and emergence of new technologies, managing fixed assets has become extremely complex. There are numerous challenges associated with managing these assets and Tata Teleservices has deployed various systems for their management. As an example, these assets are not only tracked in terms of their location but more importantly, their utilization levels are monitored to ensure that customers are not impacted due to capacity constraints. The The Internet of Things (IoT) is not just another technology trend that is taking over the IT world, but a phenomenon that is set to transform enterprises across the board. For telecom enterprises that have to constantly deal with process-related complexities and massive chunks of data, IoT can uncover new ways of enabling efficiency and real-time decision making. Here we interact with Prateek Pashine, Head–Enterprise Business, Tata Teleservices and Anuj Bhalla, Vice President & Business Head, Global-System Integration & Maintenance Services & Products, GIS Wipro to understand the various complexities faced by telecom companies in a new technology era and how this can be resolved with IoT solutions. The IoT interaction is being featured here as part of a series of joint CxO dialogues, which aim to delve deeper into the transformational impact that disruptive technologies are triggering in specific business domains.
The scale of these assets is what makes the entire operation more complex because as an example just for our enterprise customers we are required to manage 1.3 lakh km of optical fiber, and close to 40 lakh ports across 60,000 buildings in 60+ cities. The findings of a recent survey suggest that many operators need to review resourcing efficiency or adequacy; assess whether skill sets should be broadened to include technical data management or capex management; and consider adding new reporting linkages to operational parts of the business.
There will be assets which require regular physical interactions and maintenance. How is this managed currently? How do you think IoT solutions can help resolve this?
Tata Teleservices has a dedicated team which is responsible for managing the upkeep of the network resources and assets. IoT solutions can, and in fact, are being used effectively to monitor and manage the ‘health’ of these assets remotely.
Millions of events are transmitted every day through sensors and other firmware, continuously reporting site events and conditions, status updates, etc. The Network Operating Center (NOC) is designed to receive these inputs, analyze them, and generate the relevant action wherever required. Alerts for assets which require maintenance are communicated to the field staff directly, resulting in lower downtime of the asset.
As organizations require a single platform/dashboard to connect various subsystems for a consolidated view, will technology integration be the key to overcome their business challenges or productivity issues?
Integration of disparate systems will take IoT deployments to a completely different level and we are already seeing that happening. As an example, IoT solutions integrated with procurement systems can ensure that network assets giving trouble or nearing end of life can be procured and replaced before they eventually shut down and impact customer operations. Customers can be informed of potential downtimes well in advance or a real-time basis, thereby helping them take timely decisions on routing traffic through alternative paths/operators. IoT solutions, as I mentioned earlier, give us the ability to know what’s happening on a real-time basis and more importantly, enable us to take decisions on a real-time basis as well. This reduces the potential impact and leads to better customer satisfaction.
How do you think IoT solutions can help telecom companies manage their physical assets more effectively?
IoT-enabled solutions for monitoring and managing the physical assets are on the growth trajectory. Human Machine Interface (HMI) and automation enables the herculean task to be accomplished in a short duration, thereby contributing directly to operating margin by pre-emptive preventive maintenance and precise failure monitoring, which in turn reduces opex and MTTR ( Mean Time to Repair) respectively.
How can IoT solutions enable process efficiencies and in turn drive faster delivery of services for telecom companies?
Assembly line jobs involve moving objects to be rigged up systematically and also require these objects to clear the Quality Clearance (QC). IoT can play a major role in building up conveyor jobs with utmost perfection and minimum errors. Delays due to quality rejection can be reduced to a large extent as IoT will ensure the errors are detected much earlier in the chain and reset before being sent for QC. This results in savings of both time and money as product delivery timelines can be committed with crystal clarity to prospective customers.
As organizations require technology integration to get a single, unified view of data, how can it be attained through IoT?
The data within subsystems is humongous and discrete, though all relevant data lies in the subsystems it is not in a simple format which the management can refer to. The single platform dashboard ensures the senior management gets a consolidated view of all the subsystems performance in a single snapshot view. Various reports generated, thereby ensure more clarity on performance of all these discrete subsystems in conjunction with one another and dependencies are alerted in a consolidated view.