Big data meets MWC

Big Data is indeed big at Mobile World Congress 2013, with an entire afternoon conference session dedicated to the question of the value of Big Data, and just what operators could be or should be doing with it. The answers from industry experts ranged from data exchanges and smart contact centers to CSR.

Highlights follow:

1. Big Data, Gangnam-style

Jung-hee Song, senior EVP for Service Innovation group at KT, offered a case study from the company’s service center in Seoul’s Gangnam district (yes, that one). The Gangnam service center profiled and tracked CDRs to determine consumer behavior and trends, combining the data with things like income data via the credit bureaus.

Song proposed that operators adopt a data exchange model for data services, in which operators could share customer data and apply it to international apps such as global target marketing, international service optimization and target subscriptions.

She admitted that a data exchange model comes with significant drawbacks, including privacy, regulatory issues and exposure of confidential business information. However, data exchange offers a serious opportunity for collaboration with other industries, such as POS and retail, air traffic and healthcare.

2. Cognitive-computing contact centers

Paul Bloom, CTO for telecoms research at IBM, talked up the company’s cognitive computing technology, Watson, famous for appearing on US quiz show Jeopardy and defeating the show’s biggest champions.

Bloom said that cognitive computing will play a significant role in making use of Big Data because of its ability to ask questions, discover information and make decisions on the most likely correct answer to a question or problem.

For example, he said, Watson could be (and in fact, already has been) applied to contact centers, giving contact center agents the tools to assist with problems more quickly by mining everything from customer data to social networks to provide a more personalized (and more positive) experience.

“Imagine a call center that people actually like to use,” Bloom said.

3. Big Data as CSR

Linus Bengtsson, co-founder of Flowminder, highlighted the organization’s ability to collect, aggregate, analyze, and disseminate anonymous mobile phone location data to assist with response to natural disasters. Bengtsson pointed to a recent study on the use of such data to track population displacement after natural disasters, as well as the predictability of population displacement.

Bengtsson said that while there is no revenue angle for operators in using Big Data for such a purpose, operators could still do it as part of their CSR strategy.

“You can build goodwill with the government by providing critical information, and goodwill with customers by helping them in a crisis and
 

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