Vodafone Turns to Google Cloud for Big Data Analytics
Tue, April 20, 2021

Vodafone Turns to Google Cloud for Big Data Analytics

Google and Vodafone are working on creating a new custom system called Neuron / Photo Credit: Photos by D (via Shutterstock)


US tech giants have infiltrated parts of the telco business, launching chatbots that replace customer support, for instance, said Iain Morris of LightReading, a news platform about the networking communications industry. After striking a deal with Telecom Italia, Google has announced a similar agreement with Vodafone. The UK-based operator has been using an on-premise data platform to draw insights about its business in 11 countries. The platform, requiring 600 servers in eight clusters and relying on Hadoop, a set of open-source software tools. 

The platform has started to show cracks as Vodafone’s demand for data grows. James Crawshaw, a senior analyst with Heavy Reading, said, “It shows how fast things move in IT that Vodafone's existing big data platform built on Hadoop is already described as legacy.” The operator turned to Google Cloud, Google’s cloud computing unit. The two companies have used the platform to develop a new custom system called Neuron. 

The new system leverages Google’s Cloud and AI capabilities. Google is also shifting Vodafone’s global data into Google’s public cloud. This is where numerous data lakes will be collated into one “data ocean” for business intelligence and analytics purposes. “Neuron serves as the foundation for Vodafone's data ocean and the brains of our business as we transform ourselves into a digital tech company,” according to Simon Harrs, Vodafone’s head of “big data delivery.” 

The platform will allow the company to gain real-time analytics capabilities, allowing them to analyze insights faster, which can be leveraged to offer more personalized products to subscribers, raising the bar on service. In practical terms, Neuron could be used to anticipate spikes in broadband traffic and “allocate capacity” accordingly. Vodafone could also utilize analytics to better analyze the needs of customers, personalizing the services for each one of them. 

According to an interview with Bloomberg, Vodafone's chief technology officer Johan Wibergh has reportedly denied that the firm’s deal with Google will prompt an “immediate sale of data centers,” as quoted by Thomas Seal. However, there’s little doubt that Vodafone’s move will affect some of its IT staff. As of this writing, it’s unclear what kind of impact it will create on staffing requirements.