This Industry Viewpoint was authored by Stacey Kuyf, writer and content strategist for atmail
The telco industry is facing a number of challenges, such as the need to increase revenue as traditional services decline and competition increases. Customers are also demanding increased
personalisation, which telcos must provide in order to remain competitive, even as they fight to keep costs down.
Big data is helping to overcome these challenges, providing crucial insights into service providers’ customer bases. Some of the areas where big data is already being used to improve process include:
- Monitoring call data records in real-time and identifying baseline behaviour to prevent fraud.
- Analysing network traffic to predict periods of heaviest usage and avoid congestion
- Identifying customers who are considering leaving and taking preventative measures to increase loyalty
- Identifying new opportunities with services and features to improve customer service
In India, call dropping is still a big problem, with telcos failing to solve network blackout issues. Many customers have switched entirely to Facetime, WhatsApp and Skype in an attempt to keep in contact, despite the lack of network in their areas. In one survey, 35% of respondents said that 20-50% of their mobile phone calls have connection issues or drop completely.
Millions of records of call detail data are collected per second, however, these records need to be analysed to find the exact reason why calls are dropping. Telcos are using tools such as Hadoop to run pattern recognition algorithms - identifying issues and problems in real time.
One large wireless telecom company needed to collect and analyse data from billions of transactions across millions of customers, so they could be marketing effectively in real-time. The company was bogged down with data, yet had no way to meaningfully analyse it. They also had a data latency problem, with a 45 day lag on reporting operational data. Deloitte used the SAP HANA platform, delivering analytics in real-time so the company could proactively respond to customers and provide them with timely offerings and incentives, via a number of channels such as email and text messages.
Vodafone is no stranger to big data analytics, partnering with Argyle Data to get real-time analysis of security threats, some of which were previously undetectable. While most fraud detection systems would take 24 hours to detect fraud attacks (giving criminals more than enough time to steal billions), Argyle Data does this in less than four minutes.
The data is streamed into a huge database called Accumulo, which was developed by the National Security Agency. It then uses machine learning to detect fraudulent activity, protecting customers from sophisticated criminals.
Big data analysis is a massive opportunity for the telco industry, allowing providers to effectively use the wealth of data at their disposal. Improved customer service, streamlined costs, increased security, targeted marketing and product management are just a few ways the industry will benefit from data analytics. Providers that embrace big data early on will have a competitive advantage over those that hesitate to implement smart data strategies.