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Big data: the door to co-operation and communication in telecommunications

Responsiveness and clarity, perhaps more than in any other industry are crucial to Telecommunications.

Challenged by the advancing communications demands of a ‘smartphone generation’ over the last few years, the role of communications service providers (CSP’s) and the data they offer is increasingly valuable, owing to the sheer quantity and quality of the unstructured data they produce.

Think about it. From mobile network to Internet providers and more, CSP’s are uniquely placed, sitting right in the driving seat of big data generation. But just because they’re creating data, doesn’t mean they’re using it to its full potential.

So how can the telecommunications industry take advantage of its perfect data position and insight, to deliver better service and enhance their understanding of customer needs and behaviour? How can it transform its data from a ‘difficult-to-process-and-monetise’ by-product of digital communication into a valuable, optimised asset?

The importance of insight

Big data has changed the way CSP’s, and indeed the way most organisations think. Facilitating the ability to be reactive and responsive in real-time, big data allows telcos to better themselves from the core – from advancing competitively, to increasing profits, generating new revenue and tailoring services and product to suit demand.

To achieve this, the data focus should be on using consumer insight to become as consumer-centric as possible; adopting a personalised, consumer focus in marketing, product development and interaction efforts.

Allowing each aspect of an organisation to co-operate efficiently, effective big data allows telcos to:

  • Enhance understanding of consumer needs, preferences and motivators to create a flawless customer experience. Social records, call data, buying records and more can all be used to tailor communications and marketing to consumers uniquely – offering the much aspired right product to the right person, in the right way, at the right time. Increasing the appeal of a brand and its products, personalisation enhances relationships, and increases loyalty and profit. For example, if a network provider knows that a customer only uses texts, and does a lot of mobile web browsing outside of their home network, they may be able to offer a plan designed to suit those uses specifically.
  • Better assess supply and demand, and provide accordingly. Without insight, issues such as predicting and matching bandwidth demands are difficult. But through analysis of current and previous consumer’s behaviour and device information/records/logs, demand can be effectively predicted and provided for seamlessly. For example, sensor data and information from routers can be used to assess and adapt to variations in bandwidth and device use throughout the day.
  • Enhance smarter product development, and prevent dissatisfaction. Mobile phone and device logs allow insight into device lifespan. If telcos can use this data to effectively repair and replace old or faulty devices, customer satisfaction will benefit, as will the seamless execution of service. The communication of such information also allows the continual betterment of product especially around which consumers value which applications and services. And the better-matched a product is to consumer demand, the more appealing it will be to consumers themselves – giving CSP’s the competitive advantage, increasing their growth and profit, bringing new revenue and securing loyalty.

Determining the what and why

These data uses for telecommunications companies are by no means comprehensive, but are a small insight into how big data solutions can be used to enhance communications and business within a communications industry. Collecting vast amounts of data everyday from routers, access points, social media and more, CSP’s are of course also in a position of responsibility - the information they gather is of monetisable value to other industries as well as to themselves.

Because of the sheer volume, variability and velocity of data, a common issue for CSP’s is the difficulty in analysing information in, or close to real time. Cooperation with big data providers resolves this, as new technologies and analytical frameworks like Hadoop can help – enhancing the data to clarify the what as well as the why. In addition, regulatory data and stringent privacy policy compliance is also ensured.

An example of how clearly managed data can uncover the ‘what’ and ‘why; a CSP client, collaborating with data providers noticed a correlation between calls to premium rate numbers and customer churn. When customer profile data was examined to determine why, it became clear that the cost of the calls was not the issue, but that the customers themselves were financially vulnerable. The numbers they were calling were financial service companies, such as credit agencies.

Data providers are therefore key to helping organisations capitalise on previously unmanageable, unclear data, facilitating the reduction of costs, and the increase of profit and loyalty retention, while maintaining consumer trust.

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Tags: big, communication, data, telecommunications

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