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Is movement analytics ready for a big step forward?


via Flickr © That Hartford Guy (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Movement analytics is not a fancy-pants technical term for what happens to stool samples (always start with a joke). Rather it looks like being one of the big and obvious uses for big data, as generated by mobile telcos.

No, it’s not new  -  I remember being briefed on and written about the concept several years back - but it appears to be getting some extra traction now and I suspect there may be a flurry of announcements and demos at Mobile World Congress in early March.

One provider, INRIX, has teamed up with consultants Machina Research to highlight the area and INRIX’s proposition to mobile telcos as it launches its new Population Analytics platform which, it claims, utilises billions of anonymised and aggregated mobile network and GPS data points to provide population movement insights to governments, transport authorities, city planners, retailers and advertisers.

First a definition. Machina Research sees movement analytics as the fruit of the more general IoT movement where connected devices exchange real-time information. Advanced data analytics is the means by which the base metal (great dollops of exchanged information) is turned into gold. Telcos already generate huge amounts of location data almost as a bi-product of their primary business -  what’s needed is a way to bring it all together and analyse it for the greater good (or for the baser competitive advantage). Either way there should be big money in it - Machina reckons around US1 billion by 2020.

Analysing movement data (all anonymised, of course) will enable public bodies to better plan transport systems and schedules, better direct infrastructure investment and so on. For commercial enterprises it can greatly assist in advertising placement; modeling footfall at a particular location and determining what demographic owns most of the feet, thus helping decide new store placements and other strategic and tactical decisions and real-time responses.

INRIX proposition is to act as an aggregation point for the telco-generated movement data and, most important, to provide the considerable expertise needed for the Analytics and its marketing.

This is key. According Emil Berthelsen, Principal Analyst at Machina Research, and the author of the white paper, timed to INRIX’s announcement,  “Mobile operators need to recognise that movement analytics is not an extension of their traditional data analytics operation and will require them working with established providers with sophisticated platforms. To effectively monetise their data assets, operators also need partners who are accustomed to working with and selling into governments and cities and other vertical sectors like retail.”

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