Dialing for Data: How Big Data is Transforming Telecom

Robert Fox, Global Telecom, Media and Entertainment Industry Leader IBM Global Business Services

Robert Fox, Global Telecom, Media and Entertainment Industry Leader
IBM Global Business Services

By Robert Fox

Cut throat competitiveness has been with the telecom industry since its inception nearly 140 years ago when Alexander Graham Bell beat Elisha Gray in a race to the U.S. Patent Office to lay claim to inventing the telephone.

Fast forward to today and we see a highly complex, competitive telecom environment where voice services have taken a back seat  to a growing range of data-intensive services such as streaming music, radio and video, high definition video, online gaming and social media.

Transporting all of this data through their networks is resulting in shrinking margins and network congestion for the carriers. But don’t hang up on them yet! Mindful of protecting customers’ privacy and preserving their trust, many of the carriers are annonymizing their data, or offering opt-in programs, as they start to embrace and leverage advanced analytics for competitive advantage. 

A new IBM study on how telcos are using Big Data highlights this trend: 85 percent of the respondents indicate that the use of information and analytics is creating a competitive advantage for them – a 124 percent increase in the last two years.

And what types of data? That is changing too.

According to the study more than half of the telecom respondents reported using internal data as the primary source of big data within their organizations. Traditionally this has meant data extracted from phone calls, transactions, call center interactions and call detail records, like who made the call, who received it and duration of the call. But the proliferation of smartphones opens up a whole  new category of transaction records, called XDRs  which capture other transactions such as the purchase and download of a song or a video clip, a recharge on a prepaid account, or a mobile payment. Carriers are already using this type of information to improve customer experience, align solutions to customers’ needs and help predict the potential for up-selling or cross selling products and services.

Read more on The Smarter Planet blog

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