Communications service providers (CoSPs) are facing unprecedented challenges as the explosion of connected devices continue to surge amidst changing behaviors. These challenges, combined with the growth in mobile data traffic, are redefining how CoSPs operate and deploy their networks.
Amidst increasing competition, Bharti Airtel’s need to deliver a consistent and valuable customer experience is critical to its success. As one of the top three mobile service providers worldwide, the telecommunications service provider is staying ahead of the competition by leveraging Intel® architecture and network analytics to optimize its network performance and improve the user experience.
“To stay ahead in a highly competitive landscape, it is critical for us to deploy a future-ready network infrastructure. Bharti Airtel and Intel worked closely together to deliver seamless customer experiences cost-effectively.” —Randeep Sekhon, chief technology officer, Bharti Airtel
The Need for a Consistent and Quality Customer Experience
Customers today expect a consistent and seamless experience, regardless of the devices, channels, and telecommunications services they are using. To retain an existing customer base, the key for any CoSP is to deliver compelling and reliable solutions across all services and touchpoints.
To maintain its competitive edge, Bharti Airtel turns to Intel as a key collaborator to achieve two primary objectives:
- To enhance customer experience: to deliver solutions that are more closely aligned with the needs and expectations of the customer, creating a personalized, efficient, and seamless experience.
- To optimize network connectivity: understanding how connectivity is deployed, and delivering real-time optimization to allow intelligent networks to operate more efficiently and cost-effectively.
Enhancing the Customer Experience with Network Analytics
As consumer use of smartphones and mobile internet continues to grow, businesses are witnessing a data explosion that’s progressing at an unprecedented rate.
Recognizing this strategic value of data, Bharti Airtel initiated the Network Analytics Project. The aim: to capture their data, store it, and run advanced network analytics to gain deep customer insights about network usage and performance. These precious insights will ultimately help the company optimize both their network and connectivity.
Accelerating Network Optimization Through Collaboration
Every minute of every day, Bharti Airtel processes massive volumes of structured and unstructured data. To effectively maximize this data, it requires an IT architecture that is scalable, agile, and performance-driven.
The company worked closely with Intel to achieve real-time network optimization and enhance the customer experience. By leveraging Intel’s expertise and technology, the CoSP transformed its infrastructure into a modernized and scalable solution.
By modernizing its network infrastructure with the Intel Xeon platform from a legacy system, Bharti Airtel saw huge improvements in performance—up to 4.1x for user/data plane workloads, up to 1.7x for signaling plane workloads, and up to 1.7x for correlation server workloads.1 The Intel® Xeon® platform provides the performance, scalability, and agility required to drive an intelligent and optimized infrastructure.
Building Scalable Network Optimization with Intel® Architecture
The workload-optimized Intel Xeon platform enables Bharti Airtel to monitor its network and customer experiences in real-time. As a result, it is able to quickly take corrective measures and provide solutions to customers before an issue escalates. This ability to fix any issue immediately enables them to provide an enhanced customer experience. The platform also provides predictive analytics, analysing different types of data to gain insight into potential future outcomes.
It is critical for Bharti Airtel to ensure its infrastructure is future-ready. Mainly to address high infrastructure costs, long hardware installation times, and other challenges which may affect its competitive edge. The Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor, in many ways, is the ideal platform for driving future-ready networks and also for powering critical features and services, like self-optimization, a self-healing network and an auto-correction ability.
“Intel powered the project with their processor and server expertise and enabled us to significantly reduce the development time. The cross-functional team overcame a lot of challenges and had a great experience in building and rebuilding the product in an effort to vertically scale it.” —Shashwat Kishore, manager, Digitization, Bharti Airtel
Enabling Intelligent Network Analytics
For this project, Bharti Airtel leveraged the Apache Hadoop* platform, which is being increasingly adopted by CoSPs to store, process, manage, and drive analytics for their data. This framework plays a vital role in driving Bharti Airtel’s real-time network optimization and predictive customer analytics to gain actionable insights.
Figure 1: Solutions Software Architecture
The solution enables the on-demand merger of structured, unstructured, and semi-structured data sources without needing to stage the data. Hadoop stores everything in a schema-less structure, enabling Bharti Airtel’s infrastructure to flexibly carve up user provided inputs and deliver results on demand.
These platforms—powered by Intel® Xeon® processors and Intel® Data Center SSDs—are integrated with business intelligence and reporting tools that are used to drive both customer and network insights. The combination of Intel processors and SSDs delivers a faster, more efficient, and less costly data storage and processing infrastructure for Bharti Airtel. Access to all the data is enabled in a variety of ways, with the backing of robust security, governance, data protection, and management that Bharti Airtel requires. As a result, data is collected, stored, processed, explored, modeled before being made available in one platform, giving a complete view of both customers and network performance.
The Network Analytics Project is driven by two kinds of data sources—the Customer Data Lake and the Network Data Lake. Bharti Airtel already possesses a robust Data Lake platform, building on large amounts of customer data. The Network Data Lake platform provides critical data analysis like signal loss and can also predict surges in the mobile network to cope with the load and help build a better customer experience.
Achieving Enhanced Benefits Through Network Optimization
By using all the customer and network data available, this Intel® architecture-powered solution enables Bharti Airtel to deliver consistent customer experience in real-time, including benefits such as:
- An enhanced experience: enabling more cost-effective, efficient networks, and user experiences that are more intuitive, enriching, and immediate than ever before.
- Proactive care: using data analytics, Bharti Airtel uses business intelligence and analytics tools to help identify issues and fix them before they affect the customer experience, which in turn, improves customer satisfaction.
Looking Towards the Future
The Network Analytics Project was successfully launched with hundreds of Intel-powered servers and network probes deployed. Bharti Airtel is looking to rapidly extend this project across the rest of India in the immediate future by leveraging a stronger collaboration with Intel.