The global pandemic this year has changed – almost beyond belief – the way many businesses operate. It has also taken a toll on our personal lives, social and family groups. That in itself is not new news. What makes it interesting though, reflecting back on the journey that we have been and are still going through, is understanding what businesses are doing to adapt and thrive.
Our approach was clear from the outset – our customers – global telecommunications vendors, operators and tower companies – faced increased pressure. Pressure to maintain network quality of service. Pressure to support sudden and mass homeworking. Pressure to deliver on their 5G network promises. And all of this with increased pressure on Opex and Capex.
Of all of the things Covid-19 has impacted, one of the positives is the acceleration in digital transformation. Twilio, a cloud communications platform provider conducted a global survey across over 2,500 enterprise decision-makers in June 2020. They called it the “digital accelerant of the decade” and said it had “accelerated companies’ digital communications strategy by a global average of 6 years”
Never has the need to inspect large scale asset bases efficiently, remotely and safely been more important. Customers rely on us to deliver regardless of external factors, and more so when they face increased pressure. As a remote-first company, we were well placed when various global lockdowns hit in March and focused on how we could invest to help our customers’ transform their operations.
Founder & CEO
Our focus, was innovation.
When it comes to AI and machine learning the clue, of course, is in the title. The more data you input, the faster and better the learning and output is. However, AI and machine learning on their own don’t solve business problems. They need to be combined with advanced tools and features to produce insightful and actionable business information.
Rather than cut back and furlough members of the team, we increased development hours by an average of 75% from March to September. During that time, our powerful Inspection2 application continued to ingest data from assets across 14 countries. We also labelled over 100,000 objects. That information was fed into 22 deep neural networks (DNNs) that trained 29 billion parameters. These DNNs automatically audit and detect faults across industries including Telecom, Transmission & Distribution and Oil & Gas. On top of all of that we shipped 7 major and 15 regular product releases.
Increase in Development resources
Industrial objects were labelled
DNNs for Telecom, Utilities and Oil & Gas
Hours of software training & stress testing
Why does all this matter?
It matters because AI’s role is not to replace human jobs like for like. It is to be more efficient and more accurate at specific tasks than human beings can be. Shifting the emphasis of our work from things that can be automated to things that can’t. Re-imagining not replacing. Enabling businesses to do more with the same resources.
Since the pandemic hit, we have continued to support our clients across 4 continents without any interruption. We also completed 90+ hours of training and stress tests for engineers in Asia & South America.
AI is inherently deeply technical, but ultimately the benefit is human. By training our networks and investing in our software, we support our customers’ in the best possible way we can. Helping to make their business more efficient; reduce the time it takes to survey and map key infrastructure, and improve the accuracy of remote diagnostics and management information.
Savings can be re-invested to pay for skilled employees to deliver the things automation cannot. Or (as in the case of Covid-19), cope with radical and unexpected changes in demand – making them more resilient to change. Ultimately, we help ensure they are in a position to put their customers’ needs first.
And that’s what digital transformation should be about.