Unlocking dark data for a binge-watching generation

In 2015 over 179 billion applications (apps) were downloaded and it’s predicted that a staggering 244 billion apps will be downloaded in 2016 alone.

This means, more than ever, consumers are used to choice, convenience, simplicity, and innovation from the products and services they use daily and want to access all their content anywhere.

However, they also want their content personalised with recommendations aligned to their individual tastes and interests, and even mood. This adds a whole new level of sophistication.

Communications service providers (CSPs) and digital media providers are both good examples of the types of businesses facing immense pressure to captivate attention and market share, as they watch their consumers take the driving seat.

In order to meet consumer expectations and keep a unique edge against competitors, these businesses must be smarter and more creative with the use of their data, including dark data.

>See also: Data hoarding creates a digital wasteland

So what is this dark data that CSPs and digital media businesses can unlock?

It’s 80% of all data they already collect, process and store every day, but generally fail to use for other purposes, meaning it’s invisible.

When it comes to analytics, this dark data can provide great value and is a critical requirement in ensuring an accurate and a holistic view of the customer.

Dark data is generally unstructured and may be hidden within video material, social media posts or content reviews.

In order to achieve such a competitive advantage, organisations must rely on sophisticated technology that is able to disseminate and segment this dark data – that’s how cognitive technologies can help.

Designed to reason about data while learning by experience, much as their human creators do, cognitive systems unlock dark data’s true potential by translating that omni-channel understanding into customer intelligence using behavioural analytics.

This can then allow businesses to create accurate customer driven insights and reflect these in real decision making across an organisation.

Fine-tuning the 360 customer experience

Traditional multi-purpose systems simply cannot provide the same 360 view of the customer, network, services and handsets to help CSPs monetise their growing volume of network data.

They lack the same level of detailed insight to quality of service, customer behaviour and customer experience.

Instead, to keep up with fast paced customer demand, CSPs now need to look to cognitive systems for analytics to make decisions on investments to enhance service quality, reduce revenue leakage, pinpoint product offers, accurately segment their customers and increase loyalty.

>See also: How to put mobility at the heart of customer experience

Cognitive systems can provide CSPs with analytic databases built from the ground up to handle large scale complex analytics on data about customers, services, handsets and profitability.

This in turn provides a bespoke analytic platform for the on demand insight required in today’s ultra-competitive communications market.

Applying data to deliver personalised engagement

Looking at its application in a related vertical, cognitive systems have the potential to provide media organisations with business intelligence and analytics on customer behaviour.

With high-speed performance and simplicity, cognitive capabilities can provide personalised experience to the audience, and at the same time optimise essential services for the media company such as: ad targeting, website optimisation, yield optimisation, attribution analysis, ad-sales analysis and inventory forecasting, click fraud analysis, bid price optimisation and network usage.

Analysing dark data in minutes or seconds, not days or hours, can enable media firms to run multiple iterations of analysis to quickly find and address problems, optimise ad campaigns, develop behaviour-based customer loyalty programmes, deliver personalised content and respond in real-time to changing audience behaviours.

It’s these critical business areas that should benefit when dark data is unlocked to its full potential.

Embrace what’s happening now

While this pace of change for both consumers and businesses seems enormous, there is no sign of a let-up and with businesses only allocating 10-20% of their technology budget on innovation, this is simply not enough to keep up.

>See also: How data, mobile and AI will transform customer experience in 2016

To truly thrive in this rapidly changing business environment, CSPs and media businesses need to offer customers compelling new personalised experiences, establish new focus, build new expertise, and devise new ways of working.

Cognitive systems are the key to unlocking customer dark data and need to be fully adopted to achieve this, otherwise businesses run the risk of becoming out of touch and irrelevant to their customer base.


Sourced by David Ingham, associate partner, media and entertainment, IBM Global Business Services, Europe

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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