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Blog Post

Powering a Better World With Responsible Technology and AI

child cancer patient with teddy bear

After more than a decade in the analytics industry, I know the immeasurable value of data. I worked with Silicon Valley innovators who built billion-dollar companies on real-time analytics. In contrast, most companies at the time continued to produce reports on a historical monthly or quarterly basis. I have seen use cases that brought me to tears (and still do) when companies used data correctly and when financial and regulatory restrictions cost lives.  

doctor looking at radiology imaging

A few years ago, I had the honor of working with the NY Genome Center. It was applying analytics at an unprecedented scale to customize pediatric cancer treatments based on a child’s individual genetic makeup. However, during this experience, I also saw suffering and death because there was not enough financial investment to extend this level of analytics to all children with cancer. It was partly due to the enormous costs of graphics processing unit (GPU) compute technology, massive storage expenses, and limited skilled resources for handling these analytics use cases. 

The democratization of artificial intelligence 

Today, technology has advanced to where artificial intelligence (AI), specifically generative AI (GenAI), is available to all companies, regardless of their financial status. The largest companies can acquire computing and storage plus the AI-powered software they need to create new revenue streams by proactively identifying opportunities and personalizing customer experiences. Smaller companies can leverage infrastructure and software offered by public cloud providers like Google, AWS, and Microsoft Azure.  

Industries that were once considered “old school,” like manufacturing, agriculture, and utilities, have now embraced cutting-edge AI-based technologies to automate factory operations, improve crop production, and simplify home services. 

The telecom industry is the wealthiest in the world in terms of one key asset — data.  One might think that social media companies like Meta, X, and others are the data monarchs. However, remember that every transaction processed on social platforms and all uses of automation, customization, and digitization happen because of connectivity. With every transaction, the telecom industry benefits from the generated data. 

Mining the data gold mines

But to date, despite declining revenue growth and intense competition from public cloud providers, even the biggest telcos have been slow to extract value from their data gold mines. This delay is partly due to siloed data and legacy platforms, especially OSS software platforms and data focused on network performance, bandwidth allocation, and management, as well as BSS platforms with information on customer behavior, payment trends, and usage patterns.  

Integrating OSS and BSS data would give call centers a clearer view of the current customer experience and, most importantly, how to improve it proactively. Then, you add market data that identifies competitive offers, holiday activities, new consumer interests, and travel plans (just to name a few), and you find yourself with a level of insight that can lead to unprecedented opportunities. 

scientist using technology for healthcare research

The time is now to fuel the world with digital oxygen

But there is so much beyond customized connectivity packages, improved customer service, and competitive positioning that is immediately possible with data-powered AI. Why wouldn’t an industry that provides critical connectivity all around the globe, which is as essential to our digital lives as oxygen is to our physical lives, see the impact it could make in segments like healthcare, agriculture, and education? Based on the insights shared at DTW24-Ignite by Claudia Nemat, executive board member, innovation and technology at Deutsche Telekom, it is clear I am not alone in thinking this way.

Why wouldn’t an industry with billions of dollars in capital see the value of partnering with innovators who need to embed “digital oxygen” into life-saving devices, applications, and tools? Why wouldn’t an industry with gold mines of data encourage developers to embrace application programming interfaces (APIs) that give them access to what they need to make their innovation dreams come true? 

I will never forget the small number of children whose lives were saved due to the customized genetic analytics that helped them fight cancer. And I will never forget the children whose lives were lost because of the reluctance to invest in the technology needed to help them. 

Yes, there’s a lot we don’t know about AI, and there’s always risk. But we have the tools and money, and as a society, we have the responsibility to embrace data-driven innovation and make the world a better, safer, and healthier place. 

By Joy King, VP of GTM Strategy,

Optiva • June 28, 2024

Joy leads Optiva’s GTM strategy. She has three decades of software industry experience. Previously, she led product & GTM Strategy, including product management & marketing, for Vertica, a high-performance unified analytics platform leveraged by the telecom industry. Before Vertica, Joy led telecom industry marketing for HP and HPE. Her experience has created a passion for what’s possible, and she’s determined to make it happen.


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