By Jeff Aaron, VP of Enterprise Marketing, Juniper Networks
Originally published on RT Insights on 9/8/20
From automating mundane tasks to free up more time for IT workers to providing a simple, all-encompassing experience for users, AI is the key to simplification in the enterprise.
Artificial Intelligence is the next big thing in IT. However, while some technologies come and go with only a marginal impact on network operations, AI has already proven to be much more significant. In fact, AI-driven operations – aka AIOps – is one of the top areas of focus for CIOs today. By bringing unprecedented insight, automation and actions to IT administrators, AIOps saves time and money while improving operational efficiencies.
But the power of an AI-driven network isn’t just that it provides a better experience for IT departments. The modern AI-driven network, if designed correctly, also gives the best experiences to the people actually using the network. From schools and stores to hospitals and hotels, AIOps is changing the focus of networking from “up” to “good” and delivering enormous business value in the process.
The New Retail Model
Technology has transformed retail, changing how shoppers interact with their favorite brands. To give customers and retail associates the best experience with in-store Wi-Fi, many retailers have found AI-driven networking to be a perfect fit.
AIOps enabled large retailer GAP, for example, to reduce technical staff visits to stores by 85% with automated troubleshooting and proactive self-driven operations. Full access to rich APIs simplifies automation and integration with management tools, making Wi-Fi troubleshooting faster and more cost-effective.
With AIOps, stores now have predictable, reliable, and measurable Wi-Fi. IT staff has greater visibility and can leverage the power of automation to consistently meet Wi-Fi service levels and user expectations.
Though consumers may not be spending as much time at retail stores right now, retailers are looking at new innovative ways of using wireless location technology to bring employees and shoppers safely back on site with proximity tracing and social distancing use cases. In addition, the need for dependable and measurable Wi-Fi remains hugely important in warehouses and distribution centers. So, regardless of how the retail industry evolves in a post-COVID world, AI-driven wireless is key to improved operational efficiencies, lower costs, and increased business value in the retail industry.
Optimized Health Care Experiences
In the healthcare field, wireless networks are critical to supporting a variety of medical devices and mobile applications. In addition, reliable guest Wi-Fi is essential to optimizing the patient experience. AI is critical to these endeavors by delivering the following:
- Visibility and understanding into how staff, visitors, and patients are experiencing the network.
- AI also gives helpdesk staff the ability to leverage data science tools to rapidly identify any Wi-Fi issues and their root causes as they happen.
- As a proactive measure, AI can also be leveraged to detect anomalies and either automate the resolution or alert IT of the issue before users even report a problem with the network.
These AI-focused solutions allow healthcare IT workers to focus on strategic projects to support clinical operations and patient care, rather than troubleshooting.
Another benefit of an AI-driven wireless network that fuses together Wi-Fi, Bluetooth LE, and IoT technologies is the ability to boost the user experience with indoor location services and enhance patient, visitor, and caregiver mobile applications. This makes it possible to provide anyone who has a Bluetooth-enabled device with wayfinding services, which can be helpful in many ways – whether it’s assisting healthcare workers to quickly find patients who need attention or making it possible to greet patients as soon as they walk into a hospital and provide turn-by-turn navigation to their destination. It also helps hospitals to quickly locate key assets such as medical devices, ventilators, wheelchairs, or even medicine, which has been a challenge historically with shift-based work.
New applications are now possible with this integration of Bluetooth, IoT, and Wi-Fi. Orlando VA Medical Center, for example, integrated IoT door locks with Bluetooth LE-enabled badges and tags to prevent unaccompanied patient elopement from their mental health facility. This is one new, significant way that companies can help improve the patient experience for different subsets of patients using AI-driven networks.
Reimagining the Digital Workplace
AI-driven wireless is critical to the success of digital workplaces. It not only allows a workforce to communicate, interact, and transact seamlessly, but it also provides the automation and insight required to scale networks efficiently with the soaring numbers of mobile and IoT devices.
As many corporate campuses go “wireless first,” the following AI-driven capabilities are essential for corporate environments:
- Set, monitor and enforce customizable Wi-Fi service levels for all employees
- Easy guest Wi-Fi access with captive portal, SMS, and social media login
- Ensure a consistent experience across all devices and clients (e.g. VoIP and video)
Furthermore, as companies begin to adjust facilities to accommodate new social distancing guidelines, these AI-driven wireless capabilities bring additional value:
- Share location with colleagues
- Find people and assets (e.g. printers) in real-time
- Understand traffic patterns for effective resource planning (e.g., conference rooms) and cleaning
- Journey mapping to identify where users went and how long (e.g., as part of larger contact tracing initiatives)
As AI continues to evolve in the enterprise, one thing has become clear – AI is an experience technology. While there are many benefits of AI and AIOps, the overarching intent is to create a better experience for IT teams, customers, enterprises – you name it. From automating mundane tasks to free up more time for IT workers to providing a simple, all-encompassing experience for users, AI is the key to simplification in the enterprise.