Monday, May 22, 2023

Blueprint: Using Carrier Geolocation Data for Real-Time Insights

by Heather Broughton, AVP Marketing, Service Provider Solutions at NETSCOUT

Many communication service providers (CSPs) investing in 5G technology are turning to geomarketing solutions to better reach their revenue goals. This follows reports that 9 in 10 companies worldwide use location data, and that use is expected to grow in significance over the next few years. 

However, geomarketing as an economic opportunity is underutilized because existing geolocation methods lack operational feasibility and precision, leading to many CSPs wondering how they can refine their approach and tap into additional geolocation revenue streams over the next decade. 

That is the topic we will explore in this article, specifically how carrier geolocation data can increase revenue opportunities for subscriber location-based services without the need for GPS. This approach allows CSPs to analyze their data better and discover intelligent and timely insights into their subscribers, devices, services, networks, and applications. 

Geolocation Solutions Rely on Precision

When we talk about precision in geolocation services, we first must address the fact that current legacy geomarketing methods in the market – such as Over the Top (OTT) GPS and passive geolocation – has fundamental flaws that restrict their capabilities for real-time use. Examples include errors in dense urban areas, limitations indoors where coverage is limited, and GPS systems that are easily turned off and run out of battery. Likewise, passive geolocation methods suffer from configuration errors rendering large locations, Net Energy Metering (NEM) and User Equipment (UE) Radio Frequency (RF) parameters that contain errors and bias, and higher latency due to ‘weighting’ past sessions to smooth movements.

By comparison, through a better understanding of network data, particularly by applying smart data instrumentation and analytics at the RAN level and beyond, mobile network operators can significantly improve accuracy compared with traditional methods. Machine learning (ML) models can be trained to learn on just 1% of 3GPP-based minimize drive test (MDT) calls to predict all other calls and provide a more precise, anonymized view of subscribers with fewer variations compared with traditional modeling. This type of data is extremely rich – giving insight into location-based activities and behavior – and, when combined with other sources within data lakes, can yield a range of revenue opportunities across sectors. 

Geolocation Data Monetization Opportunities by Sector 

In general, geolocation data is becoming harder and harder to come by. Smartphone manufacturers and ecosystem players like Apple and Google have introduced measures in recent years to limit the amount of information collected by applications to improve user privacy. This affords mobile network operators considerable opportunity to provide precision geolocation data with many important use cases across industries. Consider just a few examples:

  • Advertising and marketing: Geomarketing uses consumers' location to provide relevant messaging for products or services they may be interested in at that particular point in time. With accurate geolocation data, CSPs can help advertisers set geofencing to trigger select mobile ads – such as to promote a new store or regional offer – and verify ad conversions. 
  • Fraud detection and prevention: Credit card fraud in the U.S. continues to rise each year, amounting to billions of dollars in costs to financial institutions. However, even with sophisticated algorithms, spotting fraud in real-time remains a challenge. Accurate, real-time geolocation data offers an opportunity for card issuers to verify transactions and stop payment before any funds are lost.  
  • Business & government planning: Before building a new branch location or paving a new road, planners want to know traffic patterns and behaviors. Having accurate geolocation data is invaluable in verifying other data sources and can help organizations set or adjust strategies to reflect the real world.  

In conclusion, current geomarketing methods, including GPS and passive monitoring, have unique limitations, and emerging technologies such as smart data, RAN-based machine learning models can help ensure data accuracy to provide a range of unique services across industries. As 5G continues to advance in the next decade, CSPs will find new ways to improve existing geomarketing methods and provide a transformational experience for their subscribers.

About the Author

Heather Broughton is an area vice president overseeing communications service provider solutions at NETSCOUT. She has more than 20 years of experience in telecom, including positions held at Verizon/MCI focused on performance management and translations for both fixed and mobile networks.

Axelera AI raises $50 million for edge inference

Axelera AI, a start-up based in Eindhoven, Netherlands, raised over $50 million in Series A funding for its development of a hardware + software solution for AI interference at the edge.

The company says its AI edge solution enables computer vision applications to become more accessible, powerful and user friendly than ever before.

In addition to its headquarters in Eindhoven, Axelera AI has R&D offices in Belgium, Switzerland, Italy and the UK, with more than 120 employees in 14 countries. 

New investors include CDP Venture Capital, Verve Ventures and Fractionelera.

IBM offers Hybrid Cloud Mesh service

IBM introduced a SaaS offering to help enterprises to bring management to their hybrid multicloud infrastructure.

IBM Hybrid Cloud Mesh automates the process, management and observability of application connectivity in and between public and private clouds to help modern enterprises operate their infrastructure across hybrid multicloud and heterogeneous environments.

When generally available later this year, IBM Hybrid Cloud Mesh will also leverage the DNS traffic steering capabilities from NS1, an IBM Company, to find the best connection between clouds and end users and deliver applications that are optimized for performance, cost, and availability at every connection point.

IBM’s recent acquisition of NS1, a provider of network automation SaaS solutions that are designed to enable businesses to deliver content, services and applications to millions of users while helping optimize performance, reliability, security, and cost, will also play in a role in helping IBM Hybrid Cloud Mesh provide application-centric connectivity.

Applied Materials plans Semiconductor Innovation in Silicon Valley

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The new Equipment and Process Innovation and Commercialization (EPIC) Center is planned as the heart of a high-velocity innovation platform designed to accelerate development and commercialization of the foundational technologies needed by the global semiconductor and computing industries.

The facility will include more than 180,000 square feet of state-of-the-art cleanroom for collaborative innovation with chipmakers, universities and ecosystem partners. 

“While semiconductors are more critical to the global economy than ever before, the technology challenges our industry faces are becoming more complex,” said Gary Dickerson, President and CEO of Applied Materials. “This investment presents a golden opportunity to re-engineer the way the global industry collaborates to deliver the foundational semiconductor process and manufacturing technologies needed to sustain rapid improvements in energy-efficient, high-performance computing.”

Applied’s new EPIC Center is designed to be a premier platform for leading logic and memory chipmakers to collaborate with the equipment ecosystem. For the first time, chipmakers can have their own dedicated space within an equipment supplier facility, extending their in-house pilot lines and providing early access to next-generation technologies and tools – months or even years before equivalent capabilities can be installed at their facilities.

Leading semiconductor and computing companies voicing support include AMD, IBM, Intel, Micron, Nvidia, Samsung, TSMC and Western Digital.

Google Cloud region opens in Qatar

Google opened a cloud region data center in Doha, Qatar. 

The new region launches with three zones, allowing users to distribute applications and storage to help protect against service disruptions. The Doha region also launches with a key set of Google Cloud products, including Compute Engine, Cloud Run, Cloud SQL, Google Kubernetes Engine, and Span.

The new Doha region is part of Google Cloud’s global network of 37 regions and 112 zones that bring cloud services to over 200 countries and territories worldwide.

Biden nominates Anna Gomez as FCC commissioner

President Biden nominated Anna M. Gomez to serve as a commissioner on the FCC.  

Gomez is a telecommunications attorney who currently serves as a Senior Advisor for International Information and Communications Policy in the Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy. Gomez served as the National Telecommunications and Information Administration Deputy Administrator from 2009 to 2013. She also served for 12 years in various positions at the Federal Communications Commission, including as Deputy Chief of the International Bureau and as Senior Legal Advisor to then-Chairman William E. Kennard. Gomez also was Vice president for Federal and State Government Affairs at Sprint Nextel and an Associate at Arnold and Porter.

President Biden also re-nominated current commissioners Geoffrey Adam Starks and Brendan Carr for new terms at the FCC.