The term 'big data' gets bandied about a lot these days, often as little more than a lazy rebranding of what we used to call business intelligence (BI) or analytics. One category of companies that should have masses of big data is telecommunications providers, but a recent study suggests they're not taking advantage of all that information.
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Research firm Analysys Mason says that 27 per cent of communication service providers have no strategy for mining their customer and network data for insights. That's despite the fact that these networks generate enormous volumes of data: by Analysys Mason's reckoning, more data has been generated in this sector over the last two years than in the preceding 50.
There's also sufficient variety in the data to make it a potential source of new insights. "The data has volume (there is lots of it), variety (from call logs to M2M sensor data, it is extremely varied), velocity (it can be gathered in real time) and value (if structured and analysed correctly, it can be extremely valuable and profitable)," analyst Patrick Kelly said in a statement.
So what's the holdup? One potential factor is the lack of IT staff who can effectively manage this kind of project: we've noted on more than one occasion that improving your analytics skills is a sure-fire way of advancing your career right now. Another is likely to be the shrinking margins in most phone and internet services, which make finding funding for new analysis systems challenging.