Artificial Intelligence
Industry Insight Series

There’s no doubt: artificial intelligence (AI) presents enormous opportunity for broadband service providers in a multitude of disciplines. Players large and small are already utilizing AI to optimize network resiliency, customer service experiences, environmental impacts, network operations and more in order to meet operational and financial goals.

The discipline of technician route optimization is no different.

Distance, time, fuel consumption, vehicle capacity, terrain constraints, traffic, customer demands: all of these are factors that must be considered when optimizing routes for your workforce in order to maximize productivity and, ultimately, profits. Manually scheduling routes with these factors in mind not only eats up precious time and resources, it also doesn’t factor in unforeseen issues that might arise and hinder your optimization efforts.

That’s where AI comes in.

Decreasing Operational Costs

In the context of route optimization for field technicians, AI has the power to maximize efficiency in order to decrease operational costs by:

  • Optimizing on the fly: When factors like traffic and weather call for re-routing, AI systems can integrate that information into a larger living system that accounts for all factors in order to produce the most cost-effective schedules in real time.
  • Predicting unforeseen factors: AI not only helps your technicians circumnavigate traffic jams that are currently happening; it can predict ones that might arise based on other factors to help your technicians avoid them entirely.
  • Mitigating wear and tear: The more AI systems learn, the more they know about each vehicle in your fleet—how many miles it’s been driven, the last time it was serviced, etc.—in order to lengthen its lifespan.
  • Maximizing fuel efficiency:  AI optimization can help ensure every vehicle is driving the least distance possible, helping you keep fuel costs down and meet environmental goals.

There’s no doubt AI can help drive down routing costs in a multitude of ways. Additionally, it can help drive more positive and meaningful interactions between your technicians and your customers.

Empowering Your Technicians

Whenever they’re out on routes, your technicians are the face of your company. Their ability to deliver exceptional service to your customers in the field is mission critical. AI can help them:

  • Load their trucks most efficiently in order to minimize the need for time-consuming manual interventions.
  • Customize routes based on unique customer or route requirements.
  • Meet deadlines by assessing multiple route factors at once using real-time data from GPS devices, traffic cameras, mobile apps, and more.

Satisfying Your Customers

When your customers are satisfied, you are more likely to retain them. Additionally, they are more likely to provide positive reviews and recommend your services to their neighbors, helping to drive customer acquisition. AI can assist in your route optimization to increase the efficiency of your technicians and provide clearer time windows and additional communications for customers, ultimately leading to higher customer satisfaction.

The Ultimate Competitive Advantage

As more broadband providers continue to leverage AI to optimize routing, scheduling, and other aspects of their operations, AI is becoming a logistic necessity instead of a luxury.

New technologies will continue to emerge. Automated vehicles are positioned to become more prevalent in the industry. So are drones, particularly in terrain that is difficult to navigate. Carbon requirements and fuel sources are bound to shift.

Implementing AI to facilitate route optimization now will enable you to seamlessly integrate these new technologies as they evolve, helping you future-proof your company and remain competitive in our rapidly changing industry.

This series features insight into important broadband industry issues from industry leaders.

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