The Hidden Revenue Potential in Mobile Big Data

By Manuel Stopnicki, CTO, Tektronix Communications

The relationship between enterprises and telecom service providers is poised to change dramatically. Today, businesses across all sectors are finding new ways to use the mobile internet to the betterment of their bottom lines. Even beyond companies like Uber that has built its entire business models around the booming app economy, it’s become commonplace for brands big and small to offer mobile applications. It’s clear, therefore, that enterprise CIOs recognise the value in mobile, taking steps to actively target potential customers during their personal time when they’re likely to be most engaged with their smartphones.

But there’s more to mobile than applications and advertising. Enterprises have only scratched the surface of what’s possible, especially as operators are now entering a new phase of innovation and are looking to monetise the wealth of big data they have access to. By partnering with mobile network operators, enterprises can now get closer to their customers than ever before. There’s a convergence of new location-based, high-precision technology that, when combined with big data platforms, represents opportunity for enterprises looking to diversify revenue and do the same for operators, who are also looking to expand beyond their core business of communications.

Operators hold the key to incredibly valuable and highly targeted consumer insights. This data is amassed continuously from the mobile network. This wealth of information means operators are sat on a goldmine of valuable data, which can be enriched with location, presence and mobile usage information. It is of immense value to enterprises, as it can offer a tremendous competitive advantage.

Historically, enterprises have accessed consumer insights including surveys, panels, annual reports and others. There are now a number of online companies offering enterprises and CIOs easy access to deep, always up-todate insights applicable to advertisers, media agencies, retailshops, and more, but not at the depth and breadth of network data.

Operators can offer a range of key differentiators that go far beyond what traditional data companies can offer, including access to real-time, precise, accurate, always on and population wide information. Enterprise CIOs can then turn this data around with speed to deliver highly relevant insights for their business. Partnering with a mobile operator can give CIOs easy and immediate access to current, valuable intelligence that can make a real difference to their bottom line. Recent breakthroughs in big data analytics mean operators are now in an even stronger position to deliver more precise and contextual geo location and mobile usage data than ever before.

There are already a number of use cases we are seeing today:

Banking on Big Data

Mobile data holds a powerful opportunity for banks and financial institutions that can use the reams of data operators have access to in various ways. For example, banks can combine customer account details with location based mobile information to dramatically reduce card fraud, requiring the user’s mobile phone to be in close  proximity when withdrawing cash or processing an in store transaction.

Beyond fraud protection, banks can also analyse, manage and anonymize information gained from the mobile network to better understand how their customers use existing banking channels. This has a range of benefits, most notably helping them to identify the best support methods for different demographics  whether that’s in branch, online, or over the phone  and then tailor their services accordingly.

Re-tailor the Shopping Experience

Retailers can benefit from an operator’s big data stores too, using this information to drive footfall traffic with targeted promotional messages based on subscriber location and preferences. By partnering with a mobile operator it’s possible to combine browsing data with subscriber location information to ‘push’ notifications or relevant discounts to users who have opted in to receive offers when in the vicinity of a particular store. If, for example, a user had recently clicked on an advert for reduced-price shoes,foot wear retailers could take advantage of their interest and inform them of any personal discount when walking past the store. Better still, end-to-end analysis of the consumer’s behaviour could let the same retailer highlight discounts on shoes the user has been looking for on their mobile, increasing the chance of a purchase conversion.

The cases of data being used in this way are only going to grow, especially since new research from Teradata and Celebrus suggests 63 percent of consumers across every age group like to receive personalised offers, and a recent Accenture survey found 60 percent of consumers want real-time promotions and offers.

The Changing Landscape

Network data can be delivered either as aggregated, population measurements or individual data for subscribers who have opted in to receive promotions and offers. There are multiple use cases around each one with applications for a wide variety of industries, including marketing, advertising, banking and finance, government, tourism and more. Those mentioned here are just a drop in the bucket.

In addition, it won’t be long before we come into the next frontier: prediction. The data potential and applications will explode when brands are able to engage when they know where people will be, when they have ‘free internet time’. It’s an exciting evolution.

It’s important to consider the inevitably of privacy concerns. Since operators already follow stringent data protection methods set by regional governments and they have a strong relationship of confidence with their subscribers, they offer distinct advantages to new, up and coming companies. They can provide the necessary levels of confidentiality guarantees.

There is a revolution going on, fuelled by technical innovation and adapting business models. Keen to no longer be branded as ‘dumb pipes’, operators are moving into new territories and developing valuable data propositions to give enterprise customers’ better insights into their sector than ever before. There’s a wealth of potential hidden in the mobile network and it’s poised for growth. But it’s only forward thinking corporate executives, who recognise the value of partnering with a mobile operator to enhance their existing marketing efforts and stay ahead of the competition, that will reap the rewards.

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