Artificial Intelligence (AI) will have a profound impact on mobile operators’ businesses and the wider mobile ecosystem. Today, many operators are experimenting and deploying machine learning and other AI techniques at scale, but getting it right and scaling production is not an easy task, especially taking into account the limited resources in this nascent field.
In May 2019 the GSMA launched the Global AI Challenge in partnership with The Alan Turing Institute, the UK’s national institute for data science and artificial intelligence. The challenge sets out to explore areas where AI can make a significant impact on operators’ businesses but also deliver societal and economic benefits on a global basis.
Four mobile operators, STC, TELUS, Telenor and Turkcell were selected to become challenge owners:
Expert teams from the selected operators, the GSMA and Turing will work together to refine the challenges that will be tackled along with the associated datasets, focusing on real-life business challenges and how science, society and the economy might benefit.
In September 2019 The Alan Turing Institute will host and run the GSMA Global AI Challenge using the Turing Data Study Group (DSG) an intensive five-day ‘collaborative hackathon’. The DSG will bring together the mobile operator challenge leaders as well as talented multi-disciplinary researchers from academia recruited through the Turing established a network of over 3,000 AI postdoctoral and university researchers across its university partners in the UK and abroad. During the DSGs the teams of 8-12 doctoral students, early career researchers, and postdocs will use anonymised operator datasets and apply different artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques – such as supervised learning, time series prediction, probabilistic prediction, reinforcement learning, etc. – to solve specific problems in the identified areas.
Upon completion of the DSGs Turing will publish a report and the GSMA and participating operators will share their findings and have the opportunity to further explore these areas with the wider mobile ecosystem, potentially expanding into a more in-depth research project.
With the mobile space becoming ever more complex, subscriber needs rising (reliability, coverage, bandwidth, security, etc…) and immediate action required to address global sustainability challenges it is clear that AI can play a crucial role in expediting robust, scalable solutions to meet these demands. Mobile network operators and academia working together on initiatives such as the Global AI Challenge represents a positive and significant move towards meeting these global challenges.