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Big Data + Big Trust = Big Value

CyberVision kept a close eye on Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona, and it’s a good thing we did. In fact, we’ve been involved in Big Data and Telecoms convergences for quite some time and the major take-home from MWC seems obvious, now that someone’s named it.


We’re talking here about Ovum’s coining of ‘Big Trust’, which is the idea that instead of a company mining its client interaction data, clients opt in while also seeing the company as safeguarding their privacy and information. We think Big Trust is more than a catch phrase as it sums up a mentality that will become important to any company – especially Telecoms operators but in reality any corporation looking to capitalize on the data that is generated in its interaction with prospective and current clients. Big Trust is going to be a big deal in 2014 and beyond, so this seems to be a good time to look at how that came about and where it might go next.

For starters, 2013 was for data security what the queen of England once called an “annus horribilis”, or horrible year. Eric Snowdon’s mid-year release of over a million of intelligence files made world-wide headlines; it also created an IT headache, based on the revelation that major tech companies including telecoms were sharing, often willingly, client data on their servers. Moreover, the headache refuses to go away. The Snowden Effect could cost the US tech industry as much as US$ 35 billion, according to Gerry Smith at Huffington Post.

DT-logoAs the public’s concern over the data has mounted, an increasing number of companies have taken note. Deutsche Telekom, for instance, noted in January that it was upgrading user security in several ways in an attempt to be a “knight in shining armor” for its customers. The measures have the backing of the German government, which comes as no surprise after revelations that German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone calls had been hacked.

But Big Trust boils down to something more fundamental than these headline grabbing stories. People have been worried about privacy issues for years, and the Snowden affair only brought many underlying concerns into broad daylight. SAS notes that over 70% of respondents to a late-2013 poll said that recent events had made them concerned about access to personal information. At the same time, 60% of respondents wanted more targeted information and offers from companies.

What Ovum, Deutsche Telekom and other companies are catching on to is that addressing this concern can positively affect the bottom line as well.

Big Trust places an emphasis on trust – as in permission-based data sharing – versus a data-first attitude, which fails to take these consumer concerns into account. The idea should work well in increasing customer loyalty and thus draw new clients as well as reduce churn.

What wasn’t said at MWC, as far as we can tell, is that Big Trust will also create a greater need for tighter connections between goods and services providers and the Big Data specialists that create and adapt software for them. It won’t be enough to understand non-relational databases anymore – if it ever was in the first place. Keeping Big Trust in mind all the way through the software development chain takes an understanding of the client’s business and how it interacts with its own customers. And how to best ensure data security in order to keep them.

Huffingtonpost.com, 2014
Telecoms.com, 2014
Blogs.sas.com, 2013

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