Big data – Big trust

If you’re not paying for it (an app or service), you’re not the customer; you’re the product.”

Declines in revenues from traditional services have CSPs scrambling to identify new revenue streams, often through very lateral approaches.

The massive databases held by CSPs are one of their biggest assets even if they don’t appear on balance sheets directly. Some organisations are better than others at leveraging value from their OSS databases and beyond.

As described in a recent blog about being able to reliably identify personality traits from mobile CDR (Call Data Records), new data analysis techniques are constantly unlocking new insights and value from these data stores. Similarly, big data analytics are providing the tools that allow data analysts great power for deciphering value from the volume.

One of the things that strikes me about big data analysis of user data is the potential loss of customer trust if the CSPs get too lateral in monetising their data (ie selling out). But the other closely aligned thought that strikes me is the vast continuum of user sensitivities between “secure” and “free.” Some people are happy to have their usage patterns analysed in return for free use of a service, whereas others go to great lengths to protect their privacy (and expect great trust levels from their service providers). Then there are many shades of grey on the continuum in between.

This makes me wonder whether data scientists have already developed techniques to identify where each user fits on this continuum? If they have, could CSPs modify service offerings to fit personality types either directly (tick box on a service order form) or via analytical means? In other words, users get free or subsidised services if they are willing to allow CSPs to share information, but pay full-fee for privacy on the same service.

The concept is another form of PBC (Policy Based Charging), but instead of service quality, it’s service privacy that is variable (for a fee).

One of the big advantages that CSPs hold over many an OTT (Over the Top) player is their level of customer trust and faith in privacy (some may argue this point of course given recent events). The big question is whether they choose to leverage this advantage or sell it.

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