We are going through unprecedented times with the coronavirus pandemic, which has impacted everyone around the world either directly or indirectly. During this challenging time, our decision has been to put the health and safety of our employees, customers and partners as our first priority.
Under lockdown, mobile network traffic soared with double-digit growth. We are working very closely with our customers to manage network capacity to cater for this demand. Regional and global teams have been re-arranged for this purpose with excellent customer satisfaction results. Overall, we delivered solid first quarter results with limited impact from the pandemic.
Our organisational resilience is built on solid processes that allow the company to response to potential risks and mitigate the impact on our employees as well as our operations. At the centre, a Crisis Management Council is responsible for handling major incidents or crises on Ericsson group level with support from different local and functional teams.
Operationally, we have strengthened the health and safety of our field operations heroes, switched around 85,000 of our employees to work and support our customers from home, and we have teams focused on ensuring that supply, R&D, service delivery and our network operating centres are ready to respond to different scenarios and different customer requests.
With the drastic data growth and traffic patterns shift due to Covid-19, mobile network capacity is more strained than before. We see more market demand for solutions that cater for capacity management and efficient use of network assets either using software, hardware or spectrum efficiency solutions.
We have recently launched a new service for Covid-19 emergency response called Design and Optimisation Emergency Services. The service incorporates Ericsson best practices and solutions in network optimisation and capacity management to cater for the new realities we see today. The market traction for this service is extremely positive and see growing customer interest every day.
At Ericsson, we’re staying closer than ever to our customers and constantly advising them on the best approach to manage their networks during this crisis time. I’d like to share few recommendations:
- Investing in digital transformation hasn’t been more critical than today. At times of crisis, digital organisations are more competitive than others
- It is high time to automate network operations and embed artificial intelligence in organisation’s ways of working. Automation is today’s best resilience lever you depend on
- Closely monitor traffic shifts and mobility patterns in the network and quickly re-align network settings and configuration to cater for the new demand
- Evaluate network needs and expansion options starting by delving into software solutions, introducing artificial intelligence and automation, re-assigning network capacity, expanding network spectrum whenever possible and finally expanding your hardware gear
- Document and keep today’s knowledge and lessons learnt for future improvement. Once this hard time is over, the experience will build a more resilient organisation in the future
By Ibrahim Eldeftar, Head of Artificial Intelligence and Analytics, Ericsson Middle East and Africa.