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Openreach AI Chatbots and Data Analytics Aid Network Management

Wednesday, February 20th, 2019 (12:01 am) - Score 811
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Openreach have begun developing a new chatbot called EiVA (Enterprise Intelligent Virtual Assistant) that could improve how UK ISPs interact with the network operator. Separately data analytics firm Qlik has claimed that they’ve helped to halve the time it takes to connect up “fibre broadband” customers.

Firstly, Qlik has just announced that Openreach have adopted their data analytics tool – Qlik Sense. According to the press release, the tool works by collating data from the operator’s multiple systems and presenting it in a user-friendly format, giving managers a clearer view of the nature of the customer orders they are working on, including how long each job has been waiting for completion and enabling them to react more quickly.

Openreach is understood to have started working with Qlik in 2017 with a pilot to improve performance in its Fibre and Network Delivery (FND) team. The platform has now been officially adopted and used by 1,000 field based managers across the FND team. A wider roll-out is expected to follow later in 2019 and will include its service delivery arm, before ultimately becoming available to their field engineers.

Kevin Murphy, Openreach’s MD Fibre and Network Delivery, said:

“Our teams are tasked with improving customer service, and the latest analytics solutions have given our people the ability to make their own decisions on how best to complete orders and tackle problems in their local area.

Working with Qlik has significantly improved both operational efficiency and customer service and encouraged our teams to embrace data analytics.”

So far the tool is said to have helped to cut the average time between the order and installation of an Ethernet circuit from 75 working days to 35 working days. On top of that it’s also claimed to have supported a year-on-year increase in total orders completed (i.e. “double-digit percentage increases in the installed customer base” and improvements in customer satisfaction).

A.I. Chatbot

Separately Openreach announced a new Proof of Concept (PoC) yesterday to test an automated Chatbot system called EiVA (here). Apparently EiVA will initially be able to provide “basic job updates [orders etc.] and perform simple transactional tasks, such as amending appointment dates and times.” Use cases for other products will be developed in the future and the bot may eventually be integrated with their eChat system.

The idea of replacing human interactions – between Openreach and broadband ISPs – with an Artificial Intelligence (AI) style chatbot is in reality still some way off in the distance. The ISPs we spoke with liked the idea and were cautiously optimistic about its potential to improve service delivery, but they all agreed that it was still has a long way off and would have to prove itself first.

As we understand it the PoC will officially begin in March 2019 and a proper trial is expected to follow fairly soon after that. At present the system is a little handicapped because it’s only compatible with Microsoft’s IE11 and Edge browsers, but that should change in the longer term. Initially ISPs that take part in the PoC will be able to use it with FTTC and FTTP based self-install and managed installs.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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