The future of data monetisation – maximising location data monetisation at the micro level
Across the board, mobile network operators (MNOs) are finding themselves under significant commercial pressure. Margins are being squeezed, ARPU is increasingly static across the markets, the EU’s restrictions on roaming charges come into force mid-2017 and external threats are growing with the rise of non-operator solutions from the likes of Facebook that take advantage of unlicensed spectrum. The end result is that for the vast majority of operators, revenues are flat-lining or declining.
When it comes to reversing these trends, data monetisation is at the heart of MNO strategies for realising new revenue streams. The location data generated by mobile networks is extremely valuable to a range of organisations – from advertisers and marketers, to building owners and security organisations, says Neil Ginsburg, VP global sales – presence at ip.access.
Indeed, the business model for generating revenue from location data has already been proven at macro network level, but the challenge for MNOs has been complementing that macro data with ‘micro-proximity’ data – ie being able deliver location data down to a matter of metres.
Unfortunately to date, gathering micro-proximity data has relied on technologies that are cumbersome to deploy, manage and use – whether it has involved Wi-Fi or Bluetooth beacon technology. These solutions require users to opt in, to turn something on on their devices or for the devices to support a specific technology – in other words they don’t just work at volume and for the mass market, and as a result it means the data they can provide is incomplete.
In terms of operators’ wider data strategies for the future Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies in particular are also problematic as they don’t actually add value to an operator; ultimately anyone could deploy these technologies. Ideally MNOs want to consolidate all data operations onto their licensed spectrum, which is better suited to maximising monetisation.
The ability to securely identify the location of subscribers or devices using an operator’s licensed spectrum offers inherent advantages over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology. By removing the need for subscribers to “opt in”, or have a particular technology such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth turned on, MNOs can generate more accurate, more complete and more fine grained data. In turn this provides greater customer insights and opens up the potential to scale data revenues significantly.
That means that operators need solutions that enable them to deliver this micro-proximity data via their licensed spectrum – working across their entire installed subscriber base without users having to do anything. This means capturing fine grain user location and phone identity from phones, resolved down to 5-10 metres within indoor or urban deployment environments. It also means packaging and providing the analytics for this data in exactly the same way as operators already do with their macro-level data, all within a robust privacy, permissions and policy framework.
By implementing this type of solution via licensed spectrum operators are able to deliver levels of insight to offline bricks and mortar establishments that were previously only available in the online world. This is a crucial commercial advantage that operators cannot afford to miss out on.
The author of this blog is Neil Ginsburg, VP global sales – presence at ip.access.
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