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Neural Technologies is a leading provider of Digital Transformation solutions, assisting organisations across the world to successfully digitise their business processes. The latest technology developed by Neural Technologies includes the use of its Analytical Data Model to test digital twins effectiveness in the telecommunication space. Digital twins technology can automate complex business processes and provide a new personalised service. Claus Nielsen, Vice-President Marketing at Neural Technologies, discusses company goals in an era of digital transformation and Artificial Intelligence.
What can you tell us about Neural Technologies’ key capabilities and expertise?
CN: Our background is in providing digital transformation solutions which assist enterprises to successfully digitize their incredibly complex business processes in the areas of Revenue Management, Digital Integration, Advanced Automation and Analytics. We were founded in 1990 and since then we have worked with customers in over 45 countries worldwide and every day we process and analyse 20+ billion Event Data records. Our team are innovators in digital transformation technologies, with the aim to completely digitize every business process in an enterprise. Using the Optimus Ecosystem, we have helped businesses successfully complete their digital transformation journeys. Our digital transformation services empower Communications Service Providers (CSPs) to make intelligent business decisions and ultimately improve their services for end-users to increase their bottom-line.
Neural Technologies’ Optimus Ecosystem is an integrated portfolio of solutions addressing challenges associated with digitizing business processes. Can you provide an overview of the portfolio, and its end-use industries?
CN: With the growing volume of end user devices, CSPs have an exponential amount of Event Data that needs to be collected, processed, stored, distributed and utilized. Managing this volume of Event Data is a great challenge, one which we have seen many companies attempt and fail due to a wide variety of challenges which limit the extent to which all business processes can be digitized. However, a successful complete digital transformation enables operators to effectively manage and analyse their Event Data to beat time to market with potential new services and business models that ultimately improve their bottom-line. Using our Optimus Ecosystem, powered by Optimus, companies are far more likely to achieve their digital transformation goals. Minimizing risk, the platform functions as a holistic approach to the digital transformation journey implementing the end-to-end digitization of business processes. The Optimus Ecosystem’s capabilities include data collection and distribution, archiving/storage, balance management, data discovery and visualization to name a few. Optimus also functions in a way that is unique to its environment and it can deal with any form of data format as well as large volumes of Event Data, making it a technology which works for everyone.
The entertainment industry, for example, creates extremely large amounts of Event Data including statistics about tracks listened to, wallpaper covers downloaded, DVDs purchased, movies watched, etc. Practically everything we do through machines, devices and services is tracked and logged to derive information about their use. Whether it’s for mere analytical in-sighting or whether it’s for the digitization of a real business process (such as billing for a service): it’s all about Event Data and a company’s ability to get the most out of it. Every piece of Event Data is an asset to a company and has real value to derive results from.
Overall, our digital transformation solutions help enterprises to stay competitive by giving them the tools to commit to digital transformation and become a fully digital business. We focus on helping businesses move beyond vague statements of intent and focus on Digital Integration by “hard wiring” digital into their organisational structures, processes, systems and incentives.
We often find that the growing volume and disparity of digitized data from assets such as IoT devices and backend operations causes some significant challenges which businesses need to overcome to reap the benefits of digitization. With this, many major enterprises must invent, develop and provide new services to their target markets to stay competitive. For example, basic services such as telephone and internet access and more innovative, targeted marketing services in order to deliver the personalized services that end-users now expect. The ability to do this relies on the infrastructure to support many feature interfaces and pre-packaged offerings, including the pre-processing of information, charging, billing, applying usage policies and much more. The infrastructure also needs to support the end-to-end business process of the new services that will be implemented across the various departments.
Let’s talk about your new digital twin technology. We understand it utilises an Analytical Data Model to allow enterprises to make quicker and more informed decisions. Can you give us the low-down, and potential areas of use?
CN: Enterprises face ever-increasing challenges of leveraging 5G networks and providing customers with new types of services. By 2025, digital service providers should already be leveraging on 5G networks to offer new types of services to various customer segments. To do this, enterprises face the challenge of scaling a platform to automate the lifecycle management of network slices and incorporate predictive demand and maintenance.
To address this, the Digital Twins technology was developed and tried as part of the TM Forum Digital Twins catalyst project. The technology serves as a virtual representation of a real-world entity or system which acts as a mirror to provide a means to simulate, predict, forecast behaviour in the virtual world. In the catalyst we looked at applying Digital Twins to various use cases such as a network, people, organization and processes to determine their effectiveness in being applied to the telecoms industry to address the above 2025 challenges.
The Digital Twin technology mirrors a physical counterpart, such as a customer, to represent, predict and forecast its behaviour, enabling operators to make highly informed business decisions. The key to Digital Twin technology is digital integration powered by an Analytical Data Model. TM Forum’s AI Data Model, using Neural Technologies’ Analytical Data Model, classifies and structures data for the digital twin technology to provide real business value.
For example, the Digital Twin of a customer could be represented in a heat map with icons thereby helping to visualize aspects of their digital lifestyle, such as whether they spend a lot of time gaming, have high mobile usage and are physically inactive. This twin can then be used by the enterprise to tailor offers to that individual. For example, the Digital Twin may show that the customer has a low step count, which could trigger an incentive to the individual to be more active.
The Digital Twin can also speed up product development cycles, save time and money and create new business models based on intelligent outcomes allowing enterprises to personalize the customer experience and meet their precise demands. In return, this enables enterprises to grow and improve their customer base through targeted campaigns and provide tailored services and promotions. In return, this generates customer loyalty and retention, customer spending through personalization with timely bespoke offers.
This catalyst ended up proving that Digital Twins not only work for manufacturing industry but for the telecommunications space as well. We successfully created the Digital Operator Twin, Mobile Network Twin, Enterprise IP Network Twin, and the Customer Twin. In addition, we also demonstrated real-time communication between twins. Using proposed TM Forum Open APIs we were able to share such simulated/forecasted/predicted outcomes so that each individual twin was able to recommend a more informed action instead of a siloed view. Ultimately by using Digital Twin technologies in the telecommunications industry, a more holistic view across the whole of the operator was achieved making it possible to not only make more informed recommended actions but equally faster decisions. As a result, all such “what-if” scenarios could now be done in the virtual world without effecting the real world.
Delving deeper into the artificial intelligence arena: What’s your assessment of this technology, its potential, and the challenges?
CN: Through our work in the Digital Twins catalyst project and discovering a common industry agreed AI Data Model, it has become possible to make much faster and improved informed business decisions. Without the use of such AI centric technologies such as the Digital Twin technology, it is very difficult to achieve the ultimate goal of an enterprise to become a DSP. The AI Digital Twin technology makes this goal possible by transforming all the various business processes from siloed and less informed to integrated providing a holistic view across the organisation. A common framework such as the TM Forum AI Data Model makes this transformation significantly easier to realise with the advantage and benefits that come with using AI technologies. The immediate benefit from using this technology for the business and the customer comes from the digitisation of customer portals which empower customers to develop the service they need. For example, by providing a self-help portal that is fully digitised the customer will be able to manage his own services without the need for manual intervention. Therefore, if a customer wants to enable a new service, it is only a click away. In other words, zero-touch by the Content service provider (CSP) has now transformed the business’ ability to leverage 5G networks and deliver the personalized service that customers now expect. Leveraging 5G networks will allow CSPs to gain a competitive edge against competitors by providing personalised, relevant business models which will encourage loyal customers.
The era of digital transformation is well and truly upon us, but what exactly does digital transformation mean to you? What are the implications for the Telecommunications sector?
CN: Fundamentally, digital transformation is all about digitising your business and moving manual business processes to a digital equivalent so that enterprises can benefit from increased speed and agility throughout the whole business. The implications of achieving a successful digital transformation of all business processes throughout an organisation, is a host of benefits which would not be possible without completing a digital transformation journey. At Neural Technologies, committing to a digital transformation is a way to accelerate achieving organisational goals and advancing the services offered to customers in order to gain a competitive edge. With this, the telecommunications sector is under pressure to deliver new 5G services. To maximise this potential, digital transformation is vital for making this possible and the first to use the most advanced technology such as AI and Digital Twins will be leading the industry into a new era where CSPs follow to become DSPs.
What are your expectations for Neural Technologies in the rest of 2019 and beyond?
CN: Next to the challenges we will face with the ever-growing volumes of usage data in our industry, Software vendors like Neural Technologies need to provide Solutions being able to exchange data with any kind of connected systems. Information exchange between systems will be key and the usage of real time APIs will grow. Industry standards for these API’s, like specified through the TMF Open API’s, will help to standardize the exchange of information. With more data available through IoT and 5G in the future, Operator need to prepare themselves to leverage this data. With data as the operator’s assets, new services based on intelligent usage of AI and ML on these assets, will enable to create new revenue streams. Neural Technologies will help the operators to leverage this data and revenue with its state-of-the-art digital transformation and analytical products.