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1 Aug 2022

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Vodafone and Google launch a new platform

Vodafone and Google team up to launch AI Booster, a platform to help companies train and deploy machine learning models at scale. It is the result of 18 months of development and is built upon Google’s Vertex AI and integrates with Vodafone’s Neurons my platform.

The two companies have been working on AI-related projects since 2017 when they first partnered to create a “digital factory” that would utilize machine learning to improve customer service.

“To maximize business value at pace and scale, our vision was to enable fast creation and horizontal/vertical scaling of use cases in an automated, standardized manner. To do this, 18 months ago, we set out to build a next-generation AI/ML platform based on new Google technology, some of which hadn’t even been announced.

We knew it wouldn’t be easy. But, people said, ‘Shoot for the stars, and you might get off the ground….’ So, today, we’re proud that AI Booster is truly taking off and went live in almost double the markets we had originally planned.

We’ve used the best ML Ops tools and created Vodafone’s AI Booster Platform to make data scientists’ lives easier, maximize value, and take co-creation and scaling of use cases globally to another level.” Said Cornelia Schaurecker, The Global Group Director at Vodafone.

Like Neuron, which Vodafone’s operations teams use, AI Booster will be available commercially through an annual subscription model. The software is designed to work with Android devices with at least 2GB of RAM, a front-facing camera, and Google Assistant. It will be available in select markets where Vodafone has an established presence.

“With this new offering, we continue to make our customers’ lives easier by providing them with the latest technologies and services. This will allow us to become even more efficient in serving their needs. It is also in line with our strategy of becoming a digital telco, which will be key for all service providers in the future,” said Vittorio Colao, Chief Executive Officer of Vodafone Group Plc.

The company has not yet announced the price of the AI Booster, but it will be free for Vodafone customers with an active postpaid plan. The company said it would also expand its capabilities over time by adding new features that allow businesses to automate customer service processes and improve their ability to sell products and services online.

Ashish Vijayvargia, Analytics Product Lead at Vodafone, commented:

“As a technology platform, we’re incredibly proud of building a cutting-edge MLOps platform based on best-in-class Google Cloud architecture with in-built automation, scalability, and security. The result is we’re delivering more value from data science while embedding reliability engineering principles throughout.”

Vodafone is also working on bringing the AI Booster to iOS devices but has not yet announced when that will happen. The feature of the AI Booster:

  • Capitalize on Google native ML tooling using AutoML, Vertex AI, BQML, and others
  • Embedded security
  • Increase adoption via embedded and standardized ML templates
  • Automated ML lifecycle compliance activities (drift/skew detection, auditability, explainability, etc.) via reusable containers, pipelines, and managed services.

The new platform reportedly enables Vodafone’s data scientists and developers to reduce the time they spend going from proof-of-concept to production by nearly 50 percent.

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