The telecom industry worldwide is finding itself in a highly complex environment of decreasing margins and congested networks; an environment that is as cut throat as ever. In a bid to survive and have an edge over their competitors, tele companies have begun to embrace big data. A new IBM study on how telcos are using Big Data shows that 85% of the respondents indicate that the use of information and analytics is creating a competitive advantage for them. Big data initiatives promise to improve growth and increase efficiency and profitability across the entire telecom value chain. Yes Big Data to the rescue again!
Big Data can optimize service and impact the bottom line by analyzing network traffic and call data records. It can improve quality of service and routing traffic more effectively. By analyzing call data records in real-time, tele companies can identify fraudulent behavior and act on them immediately. The marketing division can tailor it’s campaigns to better target its customers and use insights gained to develop new products and services.
In his recent blog, Robert Fox gives some interesting examples of how tele companies are using big data and the insights thus gained to drive new revenue streams in completely different industry areas. For example:
- A network operator in the US analyzes people that pass by a billboard at a particular time of day. They then sell this information to a digital billboard operator who uses these insights to better target its billboard ads.
- In Europe, IBM and Deutsche Telekom are working together to build smarter cities. Their integrated solutions portfolio enables municipalities to make smarter use of their services through intelligent data capture and analysis. It will also improve the quality of life for citizens, who will be able to anticipate traffic delays and bus or train arrivals when travelling, find public parking spots more easily, and gain improved access to a wide array of relevant city information and services, for example.
- Telcos are also influencing the retail industry by developing multi-channel marketing campaigns with real-time geo location and social media analysis. For example, a mobile subscriber could opt into a program in which his service provider can let an electronics retailer, for example, know that the subscriber has been expressing interest in a flat screen TV via his social networks. The electronics retailer could then offer targeted discounts directly to the subscribe, either via his social channels or – using geolocation services – they could text an offer or coupon directly to the subscriber’s mobile phone when he is in the vicinity of the electronics retail store.
Telcos in India are also realizing that Big Data can increase Average revenue per user (ARPU), reduce customer churn, drive revenues and enhance market shares. They are beginning to grow their business by investing in analytic tools that go beyond traditional business intelligence technologies. And as these analytic tools help telcos extend their reach, their role will transition into more than that of a traditional telephone service provider. The data they collect will become so valuable, that they will use it not only to improve their own business, but also to influence new industries. They will spread their wings and become information providers and content distributors.
Yes the future is indeed ripe for big data in telecom.