Adam Gartenberg's Blog

Business Analytics and Optimization, IBM and Social Marketing

IBM Researchers Develop Analytics Technology For Telecommunications Industry

One of IBM's biggest assets when it comes to our work on business analytics and optimization is IBM Research.  A press release earlier this week highlighted just some of the research under way around analytics.

IBM Social Network Analysis
IBM Research in India has been working with phone carriers and mobile providers to explore the social networks and calling patterns of their subscribers.  For example, by looking through anonymous calling data, they have found a correlation between a drop in in-network calls and the likelihood that I will leave for another provider.  (Or, in plain english, if my friends and family start jumping to another provider, there's an increased likelihood that I will, too.)  Analytical models like these can help pinpoint exactly at what point to reach out to retain these at-risk customers, while more general analytics on phone usage can also help the companies create more attractive calling plans.

Of course, the technology doesn't capture the conversation held during telephone calls, but instead pulls from the enormous amounts of data the companies have always been collecting, such as call duration, volume, and time of day, as well as frequency and points of origination.

IBM Customer Analyst
The IBM Customer Analyst technology, which is being developed by IBM Research in Haifa, Israel, focuses on better understanding Internet users -- particularly mobile telephone subscribers. The proof-of-concept technology uses sophisticated algorithms to create a detailed profile of existing and potential customers by analyzing purchasing and download habits. This can help carriers and retailers predict what products and services -- and what combinations of these offerings -- will appeal to particular consumers.

By using algorithms to make unobvious correlations between demographics and online activity, telcos can tailor more customized offerings to customers and provide invaluable data to marketing managers. As an example of the kind of insight IBM Customer Analyst might provide, it may determine from online purchasing habits that a segment of urban, male Taiwanese consumers between the ages of 20 and 30 likes both jazz and science fiction. It can then recommend telco products that are likely to appeal to those interests.   A proof of concept of this technology is currently under way at Taiwan Mobile.  

These projects are part of IBM's five-year, US $100 million investment to advance mobile services and capabilities for businesses and consumers worldwide. IBM's goal is "to drive new intelligence into the underpinnings of the mobile Web to create new efficiencies in business operations and people's daily lives."

Press Release: IBM Researchers Develop Analytics Technology For Telecommunications Industry