Can CSPs cash in on their user and network data?
Data analytics is providing new insights across every industry, from archaeology to agriculture, public transportation to utility supply but it’s CSPs’ network data that sets them apart and gives them unparalleled insights into what their customers are doing, writes Jonny Evans.
Most communications service providers (CSPs) use at least some form of analytics internally, measuring and improving customer experiences and network operations. This means they already are “milking [the] huge piles of network, social and CRM data available to them, so contextual analytics is key,” said Amit Kumar, the principal solution architect at Tech Mahindra.
However, the insights and information CSPs are accumulating are also of use elsewhere, such as in “banking, communications, commerce, health, education and transport,” said Raphaël Glatt, the head of Signaling Product Management at BICS.
To meet this demand “CSPs are starting to mine, model, aggregate and anonymise the data sets to create powerful statistics that can be of significant value to other businesses,” explained Vijay Raja, the telecoms solutions manager at Cloudera.
There’s a huge opportunity to be tapped. Joe Hogan, the CTO of Openet cites a recent survey of 87 operators in which respondents indicated that they could increase data revenues by 15% if they could deliver real-time contextual offers.
Jarkko Multanen, the CEO of Accanto Systems provides a couple of examples of how these insights can deliver real value to businesses outside the carrier service core. “They can capture location information from the network – and people’s mobile devices – and sell it to navigation companies like TomTom,” he said. “Based on the information received from drivers’ mobile phones, the CSP can tell TomTom how fast motorway traffic is moving so that, in turn, they can inform the driver of delays to their journey or to avoid certain routes.”
Another example is that of banks asking users for their mobile number for ID purposes. Banks also use location data to “verify a credit card user is who they say they are by associating the location of their mobile phone signal with the location of the card they are using to avoid fraud, “ added Multanen.
Raja at Cloudera cites other examples. “Similarly the location information coupled with subscriber density maps in real-time can be a huge advantage for the public service domain specifically for assisting with city planning, traffic optimisation and enabling law enforcement,” he said.
CSPs are stretching their muscles to unlock new opportunities in new markets. “We see service providers expanding from their traditional domains and introducing new services that were usually associated with third parties, such as mobile financial services,” said Shahar Dumai, the product marketing manager for Big Data & Analytics at Amdocs. “Data definitely can help service providers enter such new areas as it enables a better understanding of the customer and is instrumental in delivering a better service.”
For Gabriele di Piazza, the senior vice president for products and marketing at Guavus added: “CSPs are able to monitor subscriber activity across their network and they can pass the insights generated from analysis of this data onto third parties to help them create more accurate profiles of their customers. New high-volume data streams, coupled with advanced customer analytics and personalisation algorithms means 360-degree profiles will be dramatically improved.”
The capacity to use the information to gather 360-degree profiles of customers delivers multiple potential benefits, benefits to which CSPs hold the key. “CSPs have a deep insight into the customers’ profiles, while OTTs provide a crowning view of the customers actively using social networking and e-commerce websites. The mix of the two gives a full, detailed view of customers’ behaviours of great interest to the verticals to segment their customer base and offer relevant services,” Glatt explained.
The reality is that as BSS moves towards real-time so does the opportunity to use that data for deeper analytics and personalised customer offers. Until now this information languished in data warehouses for use in historical analysis, but more sophisticated real-time analytics changes things. “This why streaming analytics is being used on real-time data so that it can also be used to provide a real-time trigger, along with the historical customer business intelligence, to activate contextual aware offers,” explained Hogan.
The biggest obstacles are technical, internal and regulatory. “CSPs need to have technology and processes in place to ensure customer engagement and provisioning are considered when capturing data. CSPs also need to extend analytics and engagement capabilities to third parties to monetise the data while still respecting customer privacy. For this to happen, they need a real-time digital infrastructure that extends from the network to all of the customer touch points,” explained Jennifer Kyriakakis, the founder and vice president of marketing MATRIXX Software.
Digital transformation is a big opportunity, with alliances likely to drive the initial charge “What’s more likely in the short term is the strengthening of partnerships between CSPs and OTT content providers, based on a mutual value from real-time data and an ability to action it and rapidly build offers from it,” added Kyriakakis.
Joe Hogan: Streaming analytics is being used on real-time data so that it can provide a real-time trigger.
Jarkko Multanen: Based on network data, a CSP can tell a mapping provider how fast motorway traffic is moving.
Jennifer Kyriakakis: CSPs need a real-time digital infrastructure that extends from the network to all of the customer touch points.
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