CRITICAL SUPPORT FOR CRITICAL TIMES
This blog was brought to you by Aspire, on May 12, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic hit the world in an unprecedented way, causing major disruption on a global scale. The world was never so dependent on digitalization and on-line services as it is today. Individuals, companies and governments have been forced to accelerate a digitalization that was already possible, but not necessarily required at these levels.
Like many others I’m working from home, my 2 kids are being schooled online, football training is done through a video call, ordering lunch with an app- I can’t stop to wonder how two months ago this new situation would have seemed only possible in a sci-fi movie.
In my daily work in the telecom industry, I can see how operators had not only to deal with their own internal transformation (from office work to working from home) but had also to face multiple challenges in the transformation that is happening to their customer base, from businesses to government and individuals- as they changed behaviour overnight.
The impact of those changes as brought sudden challenges to operators regarding capacity requirements, higher dependency on their service availability and quality and shifting of traffic needs to different locations.
The world has never been so dependent on connectivity, but the connectivity profile has also changed.
This pandemic, although the first catastrophic event on this scale, reminds me of other critical situations that I had to face during my years working in operations in a service provider that had to face hurricanes as a regular event. When a country is hit hard, communications become more critical for the population, and therefore restoration becomes urgent.
However, for the operator, taking care of the employees and ensuring their health and safety is secured also has priority. It’s during those times that external help is crucial, in the right moment, to support the operations while the operator is going through a sudden shortage of staff and a surge in work.
Many operators had to reorganize their ways of working to ensure their employees were not only safe but available to work remotely while dealing with their own personal logistics, mainly related with personal and family support.
It was in this context that Aspire launched a solution to help operators understand the impact of the COVID19 on their networks and provide support to deal with their own internal challenges as well as the new network challenges.
A ‘Rapid Response’ initiative was made available for an event of service impact where support is required to recover service and there’s a need of an extra pair of hands or advanced expertise to deal with the issue.
In an attempt to assure network quality and availability, Aspire is assisting operators with proactive preventive support, auditing nodes to ensure they are working as expected and filling the gap on network maintenance while the operator is focused dealing with capacity planning, urgent network upgrades and optimization.
On the other hand, adapting the network for the increase and shift in traffic is the main concern of mobile service providers, while fixed service providers have now a double effect of increase in residential traffic and high dependency on traffic from corporate office data centers and/or cloud services which are now dealing with an amount of VPN connections that was not planned. In both mobile and fixed technologies, Aspire is supporting operators on re-planning their network capacity and identifying hotspots for capacity increase.
While some spots are suddenly demanding more capacity, the old “high-usage” locations are now empty are underutilizing the existing capacity with no counter-effect on the energy used to feed that capacity. Downgrading could be an option, however with uncertainty of when the capacity will be required again, the decision has a high cost and low flexibility. In this scenario, Aspire made available to operators a closed-loop solution that acts on a cell by cell basis and optimizes energy consumption allowing average savings of 1.4GWH per year for every 1000 sites, all without performance impact to end-users.
Finally, while this crisis is ongoing, VIP customers are more sensitive than ever to changes in quality and availability of the services, they’re often on business-critical roles in their own companies. These are the situations in which someone defines who’s their carrier of trust. Proactively monitoring the quality of specific customers certainly helps Operators to be ahead of the game and avoid unnecessary frustrations with high value customers. Aspire is offering cost-efficient solutions to monitor in real-time the performance of these customers and flag any issues they may have so actions can be taken quickly in coordination with Customer Care organizations.
Overall, this pandemic is putting all of us to the test, in our personal and professional life and is challenging corporations and governments to go beyond what was unimaginable just a few months ago. If I look back at my recent roles as Head of Operations in carriers during crisis like hurricanes and earthquakes, I would have used such services from partners.
I’m in a different role now, but equally connected to what operators are doing globally. I’m proud to work in a company that provides Critical Support in Critical Times. If you have any questions or would like to further discuss any of the points raised in this blog, I’m happy to chat at firstname.lastname@example.org.