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Vodafone creates pan-European data hub to fuel AI analytics engine

UK MNO Vodafone brought in Google Cloud and Cardinality.IO to help it build out a pan-European cloud software project called United Performance Management.

UPM uses AI to process and analyse up to eight billion points of data every day across the 11 countries its mobile network spreads across. The real-time insights this generates apparently allow Vodafone to simplify core operations by performing analysis using AI tools from Google Cloud and Cardinality.IO.

Vodafone says this AI mega cloud ‘frees up staff to work on other key tasks’. A more sarcastic news organ than this might suggest these key tasks could include packing up their belongings up in a box and googling how to sign on, but we would never stoop so low for the sake of a cheap gag.

It’s not clear exactly at what stage this new cloud software system/data hub/AI analytics engine is in the rollout. Vodafone says UPM is already responsible for a 70% reduction in major network and IT incidents, so it’s been plugged in for a while presumably.

In terms of what it will do in the future, Vodafone says the insights generated by UPM will be used to prioritise network upgrades by analysing traffic patterns and pinpointing areas of high demand and areas where coverage is patchy. It’s also supposed to be able to spot network outages quickly, detect and block fraudulent behaviour, and by 2025 it will enable the full automation of Vodafone’s network.

As well as bringing in some cutting edge AI analytics to the mix, UPM replaces over 100 separate network performance management tools Vodafone currently uses. It runs on the firms own suite of servers across Europe.

“As the needs of our 300 million plus mobile customers evolve so will our network using this new platform,” said Johan Wibergh, CTO of Vodafone. “It is a global data hub that gives us a real-time view of what is happening anywhere on our network, uses our global scale to manage traffic growth cheaper and more efficiently as customer data consumption grows by around 40% per year, and supports the full automation of our network by 2025.”

So there seem to be a couple of things being done here – unifying what sounds like quite a disparate IT infrastructure landscape spread across Euroipe, and bringing in some AI firepower on top to help the network make adjustments quicker, and who knows what else in the future. This seems to be a more nuanced approach to modernisation and digital transformation than taken by some other MNOs, which has involved them ditching their own IT hardware almost entirely and uploading themselves into cloud platforms owned by other companies.

 

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