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Monday, February 26, 2024

Telecom firms betting on AI to stay ahead of the curve

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PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom are making big bets on artificial intelligence (AI) to stay ahead of the curve in the rapidly evolving digital landscape.

The two companies have poured millions of dollars into AI research and development, with a focus on areas such as customer service, network optimization and cybersecurity.

PLDT and Smart’s push for AI and other new technologies is anchored in the group’s aspirations of elevating customer experience and enhancing operational excellence.

“AI will accelerate the country’s digital transformation. The technology can automate a wide range of tasks, enhance productivity, and even help in decision-making. But most importantly, AI can help improve governance,” said Angel Redoble, first vice president and chief information security officer of PLDT and Smart.

Redoble said that with the technology’s capability to sift through vast data, AI can flag unusual patterns or anomalies that might suggest fraudulent activity. This is particularly helpful in the banking industry where AI can sound the alarm on unusual transactions or patterns that deviate from a customer’s typical behavior.

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“Based on historical data, AI has the capability to predict where fraud or corruption is likely to occur. This allows the organization to put in place preventive measures to address potential vulnerabilities,” said Redoble. 

PLDT and Smart have employed AI and machine learning on their self-optimizing network, joining global operators in the rapid adoption of the technology. PLDT also recently became the first in the local telco industry to offer better customer care with a voice AI solution, expanding its existing suite of customer service channels.

While AI can vastly improve economies and businesses, Redoble warns that AI can also be used by criminal entities to cause disruptions. The system can be programmed to launch phishing attacks, crack passwords, evade detection and create deep fakes.

Globe, too, sees AI as a key driver of progress. They’re integrating AI across their business, aiming to revolutionize customer service, financial solutions, and even network operations.

Globe president and chief executive Ernest Cu said the company is harnessing the potential of AI to provide unparalleled service and innovative solutions.

“AI applications are widespread across Globe, such as in credit scoring within the FinTech sector of our business. We employ a substantial amount of AI and machine learning to determine the credit ratings of our millions of customers. In the area of networks in terms of optimization, in terms of operations, a lot of it can be automated as well through artificial intelligence,” said Cu.

AI is set to transform the way Globe interacts with its customers. In customer care, the company is exploring conversational AI products using a Tagalog language model for improved communication. These advancements are not only about enhancing conversations but also about employing automation to solve complex problems efficiently, the company said.

Another significant area where AI is making strides is in Globe’s lending business via GCash. The application of AI allows for the automation of credit scoring, offering swift and accurate loan services.

Meanwhile, Globe’s corporate venture builder 917Ventures is also exploring the use of AI in some of their ventures, currently in incubation. This is in line with their long-term goal of solving Filipinos’ most challenging pain points with their tech solutions products. 917Ventures looks to share more about these AI-driven ventures soon.

“The use of AI extends beyond customer interaction, playing a crucial role in backend operations such as network optimization and operations automation. This not only improves service delivery but also boosts the company’s operational efficiency,” said Cu.

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