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Enabling automation is a top priority for mobile operators worldwide to deliver superior customer experience and more innovative services. Telecom Review Asia speaks with Başar Akpınar, CEO & Co-Founder of P.I. Works, a provider of mobile network planning, management, and optimization solutions, to learn about the value of AI-based automation and the ease of adopting these solutions.

P.I. Works specializes in delivering AI-based automation network solutions for today’s networks. Can you share with us the importance of network automation?

Network automation as an enabler for a hyperconnected world is not a new concept. Established in the early 21st century, when 2G and 3G networks were dominant, our objective has been to enable automation to improve network performance. With more than a decade of experience, we now support over 60 operators from the Philippines to Singapore, South Africa, the UK, the US, and Canada.

Today, the need to automate networks has become more apparent, as mobile networks have grown more sophisticated compared to a decade ago. Network automation allows operators to transform manual, high-effort, and repetitive network management tasks into automated processes that are orchestrated and controlled through intelligent software making the networks programmable, thus simplifying the management, planning, optimization, and testing of the network. It also minimizes the need for human intervention to drive zero-touch networks and create a safe, repeatable, and sustainable dynamic. Another important aspect that network automation brings to the table is increased agility in terms of network strategy adaptations to newly introduced technologies, features, and spectrum.

We enable mobile networks to be smarter by providing an intelligent base platform that addresses Radio Access Network (RAN) issues to deliver tangible benefits. These AI-driven capabilities serve to maximize all mobile operator assets resulting in one single purpose, superior customer experience. Another key benefit is CAPEX reduction through the improved utilization of existing resources and precise network planning, which can result in higher ROI, reduced OPEX, and improved quality and service.

How easily can mobile operators adopt these solutions?

More than a decade ago, one of the earliest challenges of network automation was integrating data from mobile operators to perform data analysis and convince them of the value that this data delivers.

This has changed significantly over the years. It is much easier for us to integrate the required data, especially with the widespread adoption of cloud-based technologies. Typically, when the data is provided, we simply implement the automation platform. Once this unified platform is connected and operational, it allows to enable a rich set of use cases, products and service deployment, and automation without having to further reintegrate with other systems. This is the beginning of an important step toward zero-touch and experience-centric network operations.

Can you tell us about your presence in Asia and the opportunities that this region presents?

We partner with global operators from Latin America to the Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, Africa, and the Middle East. In the Asia region, we work with group operators like Veon and Ooredoo Group, which have a presence in countries like Pakistan, Qatar, Kuwait, Myanmar, Indonesia, and Bangladesh, as well as individual operators in Indonesia, Philippines, and Malaysia to automatically manage and optimize the deployment of 5G sites to deliver high-performing, efficient, and reliable AI-based network services. For instance, in the Philippines, we work with Smart to enable AI and ML technologies for the automation of various network management functions.

Asia Pacific is a very promising region and market for us. We recognize that Asia Pacific is home to many fast-growing countries with unlimited growth opportunities. These countries are also adopting newer and more innovative technologies faster than the rest of the world. Hence, mobile operators are challenged to support the rising demand for connectivity levels with intelligent and adaptive networks.

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