Science Fiction Is Becoming Reality

Chad Frazier

I have spent more years in the communications industry than I would care to admit and have observed many changes that even George Orwell could not have fathomed. From my days as a young lad when I accompanied my father to the SWBell central office and listened to the steady clicking of the step switches hammering away like a typewriter I never dared to dream of the vast transformations that would take place over the coming decades. Tasks that were previously the duty of industrious craft workers became remotely administered by engineers equipped with keyboards as opposed to punch tools and wire wrap guns. Problems that were formerly dutifully called in to telephone operators by end users became self administered by machines that would “call home” to report faults that were diagnosed by the machine itself.

Today I live in this world of smart machines with remote administrative capabilities that have the intelligence to self diagnose a problem and report it before anyone is the wiser. The modern Support Service Organization is built around having a 24x7x365 aware NOC that is staffed by highly skilled engineers who are versed in the language of the machines. When one of these intelligent machines “calls home” to report a problem the NOC engineers are capable of resolving the vast majority of issues without doing much more than typing in some commands in via a keyboard or navigating through a GUI. The marvel of modern technology has provided the backdrop for this transformation.

However, on the horizon is a much more fundamental shift in the way we do things. Machines that proactively probe other machines and fix their problems before a human can interact are becoming commonplace. They only require humans that have the knowledge to provide the instructions and the machine will go on doing its job without further input indefinitely, provided it receives the proper care and feeding. Many of these concepts sound like they are straight out of a science fiction novel, but the reality is that they are here today and employed in our day to day business. In the coming weeks and months, I will share my thoughts on some more of the capabilities of our Support Services Organization and where it is headed in the future.

Chad is responsible for all activities related to the NOC, Technical Services and Converged Network Services for Arrow Systems Integration. These three groups are collectively responsible for all remote support activities as well as implementation of native IP based products such as routers, switches, Wireless LAN, application gateways and some IP PBXs. Chad’s responsibilities include all day to day operations as well as collaboration with marketing and product management on service offerings and direct engagement with sales to support those efforts in all facets.

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