It's the era of the smartphone. Eighty-eight percent of Singaporeans are using them, according to Black Box research in a study published in April 2012. With the rise of mobile Internet associated with our smart devices comes the decline of traditional text messaging and for mobile operators, the data that is tied to it.
Mobile operators need to evolve their business model and sink their teeth into methods which provide intelligence from mobile data, says Louis Brun, COO and founder of Neuralitic Systems a mobile data management and big data technology company based out of Montreal, Canada.
Brun asserts that the revenue from the mining of voice data is flattening and that of the SMS has reached a plateau. But telcos have something better, and that's the incredible amount of mobile big data they collect from the high volume of users on their network.
"Mobile big data travels at great velocity, great volume in the terabytes and provides complexity," Brun said.
Mobile operators can capture subscriber data off their network, structure it and sell it to ad agencies for the push of more targeted content. This greater insight into user activity and mobile usage is what telcos need to remain competitive, says Brun.
While in the past telcos could only segment data based on demographic variables, they now have the ability to get precise information that says more about the subscriber than age, gender or social class, the COO claims.
But such deep insight into the user comes with its fair share of security worries, and while mobile operators are profiting and exploring their opportunities with predictive modelling, do users have any say in what happens to their data?
The data protection bill
The data protection bill which was passed in Singapore in October this year will see individuals getting more control over their personal data. Active in January, the bill will see the creation of the national do-not-call (DNC) registry and an enforcement agency to regulate the management of personal data by companies.
Brun reassures that mobile operators and users need not clash when it comes to mobile data analytics, as long as there are mechanisms in the solution that abide by the specific country's legislation. Triggers will stop or allow sensitive parts of the information to be input into the system.
Referring to Neuralitic's SevenFlow solution suite, Brun highlighted that while a granular view of data is provided by the vendor, it is still up to the mobile operator to analyse the data and use it the way they deem fit.
"It's like we provide the Formula 1 car and the telco has the driver," Brun illustrated.
Currently the only official mobile operator partner of Neuralitic in the region, StarHub has been leveraging the company's solution since 2010.
According to vice president of customer lifecycle management at StarHub, Timothy Goh, the company is in talks with its third-party vendors in regards to consent regulations available for its users by the time the bill goes live.
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