Telcos dipping toes into big data waters

Kris Szaniawaski/Informa Telecoms and Media
11 Dec 2012

The Telco Big Data & Real Time Analytics Summit held in London last week spanned a surprisingly wide range of data management, BI and analytics-related topics and delivered useful insights from operators, vendors and other industry players.

However, it was the operator presentations that stood out for me, as much because we’re now getting to a stage where operators are beginning to dip their toes in the water with projects or launches that include elements of Big Data or real-time analytics.

As a speaker from Sprint Advanced Analytics Lab pointed out, for operators the coming twelve months will largely revolve around seeing if the penguins that jump into the water get eaten or not. That will then determine what happens next in the form of solid telco investment in this space.

It should be stressed that many of these early operator initiatives will still involve a strong element of traditional business intelligence and analytics, rather than any large-scale investment in Big Data and associated distributed data processing systems as such.

Conference presentations from Telefonica Digital, Sprint and Deutsche Telekom were particularly interesting from this perspective.

Sprint, for one, claims to have had some early success selling telecoms data to marketing agencies. The operator has been experimenting with positioning itself as an information broker and has already worked on some early engagements where it has created location-based customer insights for retailers.

The operator sees retail and gambling industries as obvious targets, although early opportunities have been wide-ranging, including amusement parks wanting information on the location and behaviour of visitors.

Sprint has mainly focused on call records believing there is more than enough untapped information in these without having to look further afield at this initial stage, but the potential sources of data are many.

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