How Telcos are Using Generative AI - MWC 2024

Verizon and Telia executives discuss how they incorporate Gen AI into their businesses

Ben Wodecki, Jr. Editor

February 26, 2024

2 Min Read
Illustration of people using mobile devices in a city
AI Business

At a Glance

  • At Mobile World Congress 2024, executives from major telecom companies explain how they have prepared to adopt Gen AI.

As generative AI has emerged, businesses quickly pivoted to showcase this new capability in their strategies – and telcos were no different. For Verizon and Nordic-based provider Telia, key focal points were managing ever-increasing volumes of data and fostering employee comfort with this emerging technology.

Speaking at Mobile World Congress 2024, Rainer Deutschmann, Telia’s group chief operating officer said businesses should build a solid data foundation to truly unlock the power of generative AI.

Deutschmann explained that the foundation for generative AI at Telia included having a data lake with common data sources integrated into the lake. That foundation also relates to people – ensuring staff are ready to manage the changes that generative AI can bring, including improving their productivity workloads.

“Build the foundation, but then you can unlock the power of the Gen AI a lot better than trying to do the Gen AI as a leapfrog and all of a sudden you will realize that the foundation is missing, so it has to go hand in hand,” Deutschmann said.

He added that generative AI is not just a sole system, but rather a fit-for-purpose solution, or what he called “bot of bots.”

“You will have in the end, a kind of an orchestrated set of systems which then work together so that you have much a more dedicated use case.”

Verizon is using generative AI not only to improve customer experiences but also added it to security products to help with fraud detection, said Srini Kalapala, chief product development officer at Verizon, the second largest wireless carrier in the U.S.

While he believes it is early days for Gen AI, one of the key components to ensure telcos are ready is to prepare its workforce.

At Verizon, Kalapala said the company provides staff with tools to improve their productivity to help acclimatize and get them comfortable with this emerging technology.

For example, he explained how Verizon gave staff who are monitoring network cell towers an AI tool to identify and prioritize issues, saving hours of work.

“We see the employees feel comfortable because you're actually making them more productive and more effective in what they do,” Kalapala said.

Deutschmann said Telia did the same, and even brought employees together for ‘Gen AI Friday’ events, where staff produce ideas and “get your hands dirty” with tools and features.

But while staff get firsthand experiences with Gen AI tools, he said businesses should look to tie concepts and emerging ideas back to production-ready scalable architecture to ensure a potentially successful launch in the future.

“That is a bit the balance. Train, enable, sandbox, but at the same time, identify those which you want to take and scale to production.”

About the Author(s)

Ben Wodecki

Jr. Editor

Ben Wodecki is the Jr. Editor of AI Business, covering a wide range of AI content. Ben joined the team in March 2021 as assistant editor and was promoted to Jr. Editor. He has written for The New Statesman, Intellectual Property Magazine, and The Telegraph India, among others. He holds an MSc in Digital Journalism from Middlesex University.

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