Mobile World Congress: Leveraging the rising tide of mobile data

James Connelly is co-founder at Fetch


A key theme that I have picked up on today at MWC, in amongst the impressive show stands and the packed-house keynotes, is that of mobile data. A subject that is increasingly in people’s conversations for different reasons amongst different stakeholders in the mobile ecosystem.

For the network operators around the world mobile data – in the form of non-voice, content and Internet services – is becoming their primary focus of commercial attention. ‘Operators gear up for data-only world’ proclaims the title of an article in today’s edition of Mobile World Live. As carriers watch their revenues from voice and text shrinking as mobile consumers increasingly adopt free, OTT messaging platforms (like Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter) so they are looking for new and effective ways to monetise data delivery. We heard from the CEOs of Vimpelcom, TeliaSonera and Tele2 – all talking about how they are evolving their business models in response to changing consumer behaviours and marketplace dynamics.

For consumers mobile data is a new form of in-depth insight into their health and fitness, their everyday gadgets, their modes of transport and their surroundings. There has been much talk about how wearable technology is enabling individuals to track their activity levels, and a focus of discussion today was on the mHealth opportunity and the data it provides to both patients and doctors alike. The launch of P&G’s new ‘quantified self’ connected toothbrush – the Oral-B SmartSeries 7000 – highlighted the benefits of being able to transfer data from device to smartphone app to see how effectively someone is brushing their teeth. And on the Ford stand they were showing off their car integrated with SYNC Applink connectivity to provide performance data to drivers via mobile.

For advertisers and marketers mobile data, especially around location, is a new, extra layer of insight to better target audiences with. As more and more money is being shifted by agencies into mobile media, as highlighted by the Rubicon Project’s Mobile Buyer Survey 2014, mobile data (both first party and third party) is playing an ever greater role, especially when used to buy inventory programmatically through DSPs.

It feels like we are just starting to unlock the benefits of mobile data and as its volume grows, so will the opportunities for all to find actionable insights from it. Those that leverage it the most efficiently and effectively will see the greatest returns.

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