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Background

Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China, Ltd. is the first joint-stock insurance enterprise in China. It has developed into an integrated services conglomerate that blends its financial services such as finance and insurance, banking, and investment management to create an integrated, compact, and diversified business profile. In 2017, Ping An ranked first among the world's 100 most valuable insurance brands.

Ping An Technology was founded in 2008 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ping An Group. It is mainly responsible for developing and operating critical platforms and services that support the efficient development of insurance, banking, investment, and Internet businesses of the Group.

In the past, users had to subscribe to services in a branch store, where they would be assisted by an agent. This would lead to queues in some branches, while other branches were empty. In the Internet Plus era, to further improve service quality for customers, Ping An launched the industry's first AI customer service. The AI customer service enables users to remotely access Ping An’s data centers from various places using an App. The system matches information from biometric authentication technologies, such as face recognition and voiceprint, with big data to remotely verify customer identity information. The system then assigns the customer a customer service representative from a local store according to the customer's geographical location, implementing online all-in-one service processing. This service thoroughly solves the pain points of traditional insurance services, such as slow authentication and claim settlement. The service is designed to help Ping An to provide safe, reliable, efficient, and convenient services with the ultimate experience for customers anytime, anywhere.

Requirements and Challenges

The use of AI technologies, such as biometric authentication, big data, and voice/semantic recognition in AI customer service increases video and voice traffic. The existing branch networks bandwidth (2 Mbit/s to 4 Mbit/s) is far from enough, meaning that AI customer service cannot be deployed on the existing network. The construction of new MultiProtocol Label Switching (MPLS) connections is costly. For example, for 2,000 sites each with 10 Mbit/s bandwidth, the annual leased line cost is over CNY100 million. In addition, provisioning MPLS takes a long time (several months), severely affecting the efficiency of provisioning AI customer services.

With the fast development of AI customer service in the whole country, Ping An requires quickly delivering the network. As such, it is in urgent need of an economic, efficient, and intelligent leased line interconnection solution.

Solution

Huawei’s SD-WAN Solution, with its series of access gateways (uCPEs), provides on-demand interconnection between branches, between branches and data centers, and between branches and the cloud. The solution delivers the ultimate experience in enterprise interconnection through application-based intelligent traffic steering, provisioning of Value-Added Services (VASs) in minutes, and intelligent O&M.

During this project, Huawei’s SD-WAN features such as Hybrid WAN, fast plug-and-play deployment, visualized and centralized O&M, and open ecosystem were leveraged to provide optimal link assurance for AI customer service, optimal agent experience, and higher work-order efficiency.

Hybrid WAN: Huawei’s SD-WAN solution supports more than 10 types of WAN interfaces in the industry. Depending on the networking requirements of enterprises in different scenarios, it uses any combination of MPLS, Internet, and 3G/LTE to construct reliable and flexible all-scenario interconnection for access points such as enterprise branches, headquarters, public clouds, and private clouds. In addition to increasing the WAN bandwidth, it also reduces the bandwidth cost. During this project, Ping An Technology used Huawei’s SD-WAN Solution to replace MPLS, with Internet links to carry AI customer service traffic, greatly reducing the leased line costs.

Quick deployment through plug-and-play: Huawei’s SD-WAN Solution provides the most-comprehensive deployment modes in the industry, including ZTP using email, barcode scanning, and U-disk. Devices are plug-and-play and can be deployed in under 30 minutes with no need for an on-site IT engineer.

Visualized & centralized O&M: Supports full-process automation from deployment to optimization, and supports network-wide status visualization, greatly reducing O&M costs for enterprises.

Open ecosystem: uCPEs support 10+ mainstream VAS provisioning on demand, and standard RESTful API for easy integration.



Customer Benefits

Ping An Technology said: “Huawei’s SD-WAN Solution makes full use of Internet resources, supports Zero-Touch Provisioning (ZTP) of services, and provides intelligent O&M features. Huawei’s SD-WAN solution provides a strong network for our AI customer service.”

Ping An Technology uses Huawei SD-WAN Solution to greatly reduce leased line costs. In the first phase, 10 Mbit/s to 30 Mbit/s bandwidth is used to carry traffic for AI customer service. Compared with MPLS, the cost of leased lines at each site is reduced greatly, and the O&M costs are reduced by more than 75%.

In addition, Ping An Technology has further improved its innovative leadership in the finance and technology industry through this project, and has once again implemented the concept: “technology drives finance”.

Learn more: 《Innovative Practices of SD-WAN in China’s Financial Services Industry: White Paper》

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