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NBN institute new Tech Lab to improve user experience

The National Broadband Network (NBN) has developed a Tech Lab that will leverage big data, machine learning and existing capability to improve end-user experience of the NBN access network.

The company says it is working closely with industry to ensure continuous improvement and a seamless installation experience for end users, aiming to more quickly resolve issues for the 45,000 average connected weekly premises.

The new tech Tech Lab will primarily help the team determine whether a fault can be dealt with remotely and immediately or whether a field technician needs to visit an end-user home to resolve the fault.

NBN says the tech lab will explore and implement emerging technologies such as graph technology and machine learning, aiming to provide insights, identify patterns, preferences and trends in people’s use and delivery of the services over the NBN access network.

NBN is able to gather the information used in the Tech Lab through a series of surveys that are completed by the end user - with their express consent - about their experiences.

The open source technologies the NBN Tech Lab is working with include Apache SPARK, Kafka, Flume, Cassandra and JanusGraph as well as partner technologies including Amazon Web Services S3 storage, RStudio, H2O.ai and ArangoDB.

John McInerney, NBN chief systems engineering officer says, “Our Tech Lab sees us utilising existing capability to solve a complex problem and will help provide us with crucial insights about the way people are using the NBN network.

“Developing these insights will help enrich the customer experience of services over the NBN access network and make our systems and processes more agile by synthesising massive data sets,” he says.

“Once the investigation and implementation of the Tech Lab research is complete we could, for example, easily identify trends that occur in a failed activation in order to pre-empt problems before arriving at a house.”

NBN says the lab will also enable them to get a better understanding of the key factors that drive dissatisfaction and address them so people have a better experience.

McInerney says by actively seeking out, assessing and addressing faults, users will be able to get an increasingly seamless experience.

“Faults are an inevitable part of any technology network but minimising the disruption is key to improving the experience. We expect to see significant improvements as a result of early detection and quick resolution."

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