Latest from Columnist

Photo 111717978 © Sarawut Nirothon |
Photo 280787037 © Dzmitry Dzemidovich |
Dreamstime L 280787037
Photo 186133805 © Auremar |
Dreamstime L 186133805
ISE Columnist Sharon Vollman, Editorial Director

ICT Visionaries

April 1, 2020
This issue kicks-off our 2020 ICT Visionaries Program. We have compiled this thought-leadership series for the last 8 years because it’s some of the most-read content on It’s also […]

This issue kicks-off our 2020 ICT Visionaries Program. We have compiled this thought-leadership series for the last 8 years because it’s some of the most-read content on It’s also some of the content you spend the most time with — nearly 5 minutes in terms of average session duration. In this inattentive world we live in, that’s nothing to sneeze at.

In this issue, our Visionaries share thoughts about how AI is impacting the telecom/ICT network and how the workforce must transition to keep up with it. They also express their concern about how we ALL must fine-tune our soft skills so we can work and play well with each other. (And that’s not always as easy as it sounds, right?)

Their thoughts:

"Futurists have stated that over the next decade and beyond, more than 60% of current work activities will be impacted (directly or indirectly) by AI improvements. It is incumbent upon us as leaders to prepare our workforces for these changes."
Sheilon King, Director – Data Insights, Chief Data Office, AT&T

"CenturyLink is creating more digital tools by leveraging robotics process automation (RPA), which reduces the number of manual steps required of our Operations teams."
Anil Simlot, Vice President of Virtual Services Development and Support, CenturyLink

"The adoption of and use of AI across all areas is not in question. It will continue to explode. The more important question is: Are we going to keep blurring the lines on the ethical and moral decisions that we will ask AI to make?"
Johnny Hill, COO, Clearfield

"(AI) examples include alarm correlation and security threat management, where AI helps identify trending of network anomalies and risks. In some cases, platforms may now take immediate action to remediate problems automatically, such as applying critical security patches."
John Robbins III, Senior Manager, Network Engineering for City of Fort Collins, Fort Collins Connexion

"Soft skills are key to any start-up organization’s success, as we merge new employees with old and evolve our corporate culture. So, our biggest challenge overall has been the teaching of soft skills dealing with corporate culture and interpersonal relations, (i.e., building a team)."
John Greene, Chief Executive Officer and GM, New Lisbon Telephone Company, Inc.

"Keeping up internal IT skill sets, as well as hiring individuals with those skills, is a focus and challenge. We are in a 5-to-7-year window where 50% of our staff may retire."
Curt Christensen, Customer Network Manager, Norvado

"AI can be used to improve productivity, streamline operations, and assist in customer service. Health Care systems can benefit from AI to assist with diagnostic decisions and surgical procedures. In the future, AI will empower more machines to make human-like decisions that will continue to influence customer products and technology."
LaTanya Buggs, Director of Operations, Global Network and Technology Division, Verizon

Like this Article?

Subscribe to ISE magazine and start receiving your FREE monthly copy to-day!

Talk about an intersection between the telecom network and the human network! Check out more of their insights on pages 12-31 in the April 2020 issue of ISE magazine, and let the learning from each other continue!

About the Author

Sharon Vollman | Editor-in-Chief, ISE Magazine

Sharon Vollman is Editor-in-Chief of ISE Magazine. She oversees the strategic direction and content for ISE Magazine. She also leads the educational content development for ISE EXPO. Vollman has created educational partnerships with the major communications and entertainment providers including AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, Frontier Communications and Cincinnati Bell. She has covered the telecom industry since 1996. Prior to that, she worked in advertising with Ogilvy & Mather and CME. Vollman has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Advertising from the University of Iowa.