At Telefónica we believe that big data helps to improve people’s lives. The potential for analysing the data in order to have a positive impact on the world is immense, since this data is totally anonymous and aggregated and always maintains people’s privacy.
The ubiquity of technology, connected technology (such as mobile phones), generates a huge amount of data (known as Big Data) on human behaviour. By analysing these vast quantities of data, it is possible to build models of people’s preferences, tastes, needs and behaviour – both on an individual and aggregate level. This opens up a whole range of possibilities for improving our experience when we interact with technology, the evolution of products and the creation of new personalised and truly relevant services.
Aggregated data enables us to establish patterns of behaviour (for example, mobility) and predictive models for cities, regions or even whole countries, thanks to the application of artificial intelligence techniques, discovering patterns and machine learning. At Telefónica, the analysis of big data is done via huge amounts of anonymous, encrypted data which is compiled from the records of traffic from mobile telephone masts, while always keeping the data anonymous and respecting privacy at all times.
When this data is analysed for social reasons, we get what is known as big data social. The work of investigators, including ours, provides public and private institutions with valuable information in order to facilitate decision making and guide their actions such as, for example, when faced with natural disasters, in order to fight the spread of epidemics, improve the control of criminal behaviour, increase farming production, or optimise medical diagnostics, among other things.
“Big Data for Social Good” is an area which is pioneering investigation within Telefónica I+D, with the aim of demonstrating that, by analysing data on human behaviour, progress can be made towards a better world.
In this way, among the social projects in which Telefónica has applied its big data investigations, we have, for example, the calculation – from mobile data – of the socio-economic levels of certain economically developing populations, in order to contribute to their growth; the analysis in Mexico of the impact of government measures to contain the outbreak of H1N1 flu and of the mobility of people during different natural disasters; or the prediction of areas with a high crime rate from patterns in the city’s dynamics.
These projects have received praise from the scientific community and have led to collaborations with, among others, the Unite Nations, the MIT, the DataPopAlliance and various governments, with which Telefónica’s group of scientists is collaborating.
Data Transparency Lab
In order to promote transparency and the privacy of personal data captured online, Telefónica I+D is one of the founders of the Data Transparency Lab,along with the MIT Human Dynamics Lab, Mozilla, the Open Data Institute and the Centre for the Digital Economy of the University of Surrey..
Technologists, researchers, policy makers and industry representatives promote scientific research and the design and development of new tools which allow us to control the use of personal data captured online. We also want to reach the end user, with the aim of making a safer and more transparent Internet.
And we seek to promote the sustainability of the Internet economy by means of a responsible and transparent use of advertising, e-commerce and online analytics.
> More information: http://datatransparencylab.org/.