Olympic feats in telecom

Simon Morris, ClickSoftware
08 Sep 2008

China Netcom Group (CNC), the official fixed line services partner of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, faced the challenge of serving some seven million Olympics athletes, coaches, officials, staff and spectators, along with more than 10 million Beijing residents and businesses.

The aftermath of the Games indicates that CNC was able to provide the dependable infrastructure that broadcasters, internet news services and others need to deliver high-definition video globally.

To ensure all of telecommunications systems run smoothly so athletes can call home, reporters can file stories on deadline and networks can broadcast hours of video in near-real time, CNC had more than 1,000 field technicians on site. It partnered with Xiangmin Technology to deploy workforce optimization technology from ClickSoftware.

Agents monitored and managed telecom traffic via the telecommunications control center where dozens of eyeballs scanned information and sorted through various system alarms. If a telecom issue arose, agents must schedule calls to at least one field technician within five minutes.

Strict service level agreements meant CNC schedulers had to schedule calls and agents must fix problems much faster than they would during regular shifts. The most urgent calls must be addressed within 30 minutes. These SLAs also mean that CNC must have a real-time view of all systems and all technicians in all venues at all times.

To minimize downtime and address problems as they arise, software was deployed to automate the scheduling of technicians. ClickSchedule took the guesswork out of matching the horde of technicians to constant installation, maintenance and repair calls. The software used constantly "listens" to the stream of incoming information from the entire system, including new emergency jobs, jobs that take longer or shorter than planned, or a technician's request for additional help.

With a predictive, automated scheduling and reporting system that has the smarts to help keep a high-demand, high-throughput telecommunications network running smoothly, managers were able to focus on maximizing uptime rather than simply being reacting to emergencies.

In one disaster rehearsal before the Olympics' opening day, ClickSchedule effectively directed more than 2,000 predefined tasks to hundreds of field engineers within five minutes.

Beyond this test, ClickSchedule and ClickAnalyze have been used to schedule and optimize field technicians during dozens of pre-Olympic live events such as international diving, handball and Taekwondo competitions.

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