Augmented technicians

Google has a plan. Eventually it wants to get into your brain. “When you think about something and don’t really know much about it, you will automatically get information,” Google CEO Larry Page said in Steven Levy’s book, “In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works and Shapes Our Lives.” “Eventually you’ll have an implant, where if you think about a fact, it will just tell you the answer.”
Dan Farber
, on CNet.

Based on the prediction above, Google Glass is just one step in a larger plan for Google, delivering a wearable compute platform, to be followed by transplanted compute platforms in the future.

I’d imagine that every single existing OSS enforces data integrity in some way by checking the validity of data being entered and/or collected. Just like outside plant has no programmatic interface (refer to this blog), outside plant technicians (arguably) have no built-in error checking mechanisms.

Augmented Reality (AR) platforms like Google Glass, and in the future Google Brain, provide a possible mechanism for reducing errors in the network and the OSS.

Taking an example, a newly hired technician isn’t familiar with a particular type of equipment that she is installing. She could read the manual, but that’s a slow and tedious process. Instead, she’s receiving augmented views of her surroundings, showing each of the device activation steps along the way via Google Glass (or similar).

Another example might be to assist the network operation centre engineer to make an informed decision such as which event is the root cause in an alarm storm situation. The OSS is able to perform analysis of all the different permutations and provide supplementary data to decide a course of action.

Futuristic, yes. Distant future, unlikely.

No matter what the mechanism for augmenting reality, the user experience will only be as good as the data being provided. This is where the CSP’s knowledge base and knowledge capture processes will influence the success (or not) of augmented reality.

In my opinion, CSPs and OSS vendors alike should already be planning for knowledge capture and knowledge sharing in their next generation of products, having a strategy that will support or adapt to AR delivery mechanisms. And don’t forget to include future ubiquity of M2M sensors in your AR roadmap.

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