One of the biggest challenges facing telecoms as they prepare to roll out 5G networks is the need to deploy more infrastructure compared to legacy networks.
The telecom industry is at an inflection point. As service providers roll out new infrastructure to support 5G networks, companies are rethinking their approach to field service. This change is a result of the recent boom in wireless data traffic growth: according to the 2018 Ericsson Mobility Report, mobile data usage in the United States has increased 54% over the last decade.
Switching to 5G is no easy task. It calls for a few major changes – a series of small antennas (nodes) that distribute data is set to eventually replace all existing single towers. For 5G, success comes down to network density: for each existing traditional tower, there is a series of over 300 small cell antennas that needs to be installed.
As organizations prepare for this logistical overhaul, there are a number of manually driven processes that, if not handled efficiently, might turn into time-consuming roadblocks. This is because not only do telecoms need to install the new nodes, but they also need to dismantle the existing networks – and execute this transition seamlessly enough to avoid any gaps in connectivity and service. In short, companies need to keep their existing 3G and 4G towers operable and maintained throughout the rollout.
To gain a competitive edge, organizations are looking to drive operational efficiency through intelligent automation. As it stands today, the average 1:4 ratio of back office coordinators to field engineers simply doesn’t scale to this transition. And as the volume of work increases, so does the margin for error. With more technicians joining the force come more assets to manage, leading to new, complex installations that require additional guidance. Furthermore, interdependent tasks can lead to multiple process redundancies, overseeing which becomes especially complex when managing outsourced workers.
A common example: your company needs to obtain all permits before you can start construction. Traditionally, you’d schedule a call to your construction crew from the back office once complete so they could start working. This poses a significant slow-down when adding up at scale – imagine having to make that call for every individual tower you need to replace. In these cases, an automated solution would help optimize the process by automatically notifying the crew once a permit is secured. Thus, to ease their field force’s logistical workload, companies have begun to automate otherwise manually driven processes such as work order creation and supply management. This sets the stage for more comprehensive technician enablement, as workers are increasingly able to drive processes – such as completing closeout packages – in real time via their mobile apps.
Tasks like scheduling and dispatching are easily automated using today’s end-to-end field service solutions as well. AI capabilities further help drive automation as systems gather historical data and real-time inventory and field service management systems can use this information to predict, for example, which parts a technician might need.
Field service automation is what will carry companies through this new industrial revolution, empowering them to succeed in the technological overhaul while maintaining stellar customer service. In our ebook, The Race to 5G, we break down some of the ways companies can drive efficiency through automation and artificial intelligence.
To discover how your company can increase field service productivity throughout your organization, download our free ebook today and learn how to:
- Modernize the back office with smarter scheduling
- Optimize your vendor and asset management
- Empower your field force by driving higher adoption rates
- Verify work in real time and increase data feedback speed
With the help of our ebook, you will better understand how you can use intelligent automation to optimize every step of your transition to 5G.