Nokia says intelligence is all about context

It’s another incremental step towards full-scale automation, but Nokia’s new data processing software aims to add a critical component to any customer experience quest; context.

If customer experience and performance are the two areas where telcos believe fortunes can be found in the next few years, information is key. But this is one of the big problems the industry has been facing; there is too much information out there to make any logical sense of for tangible commercial gains. This is what Nokia is targeting with this release.

Nokia claims the new software provides real-time data for context-aware intelligence across customer experiences, operations and networks. The Nokia Data Refinery (formerly known as Comptel Data Refinery) captures and processes siloed data of any type and from any source, including data from customers, applications, connected devices, networks, locations and services, before adding in a layer of context to support the delivery of more personalised services to customers.

“Only data-driven service providers can truly become customer-centric,” said Niilo Fredrikson, Head of Digital Intelligence in Nokia’s Applications & Analytics business. “Efficient and scalable data processing should form the backbone of all service provider operations – it’s what will allow them to run their business in ‘digital time’ to meet customers’ changing needs.

“Data Refinery allows service providers to more efficiently capture and optimize their data to create new business value and provide a superior, personalized digital customer experience.”

This latest release adds support for automated deployment in the cloud, essentially adding context to intelligent operations. In other words, it makes automated operations street smart as well as book smart. In theory, automated decision making can now take into account ripple effects, as well as consequences of any changes. It’s another step to remove human intervention in network management, which looks to be the aim for many telcos.

Human intervention is after all the cause of most errors in any business, so why would the telcos want to have us involved anywhere? Computers are more accurate, efficient and do not require rest, but context and big-picture thinking is where humans are providing value. This is one of the big stumbling blocks of artificial intelligence and automation right now. As humans, we take for granted how much knowledge we have, as well as simple lessons we have learned through experience.

Say for instance you have just boiled a kettle, you know the water is incredibly hot, therefore you should not pour it over your hand because it will hurt. A computer would know the kettle has boiled, and that the water is hot because of sensors. However, unless it has been explicitly told, it will not know about pain because it doesn’t have the library of experiences locked up in its brain that we have.

This is only an example, but this context and understanding of consequence is something we all process subconsciously. Right now automated decision making processes are not supported with such a library of experiences to understand context, partly because of the vastness of this information, but also the compute power to make it a reality.

Should Nokia be able to successfully demonstrate the ability to lay context into automated decision making on the network, perhaps it won’t be long before operations are free of us error-strewn humans.

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