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In today’s data-driven world, more organizations are investing in big data analytics to improve business performance and build business resiliency as the world experiences unprecedented digitalization.  

According to IDC, big data and analytics (BDA) spending in the Asia-Pacific region, has been on the rise. In 2020, revenue for BDA solutions reached US$22.6 billion, representing a growth of 12% from the preceding year. IDC predicts that this revenue will grow with a five-year CAGR of 15.6% for the period from 2019 to 2024.

Banking is the top vertical leading the overall BDA market, followed by the telecommunications sector, where big data analytics has been applied to predictive customer churn analysis, for instance.

Since telecom operators handle billions of records every day, the use of big data converts raw data into meaningful insights that are valuable to enterprises and the government.

In the region, China accounts for the largest share of the BDA solutions market, driven by banking and state and local government. Even Chinese factories have turned to big data to focus on the domestic market when exports were disrupted last year. When overseas demand dropped and China was at the height of the pandemic, factories turned to e-commerce giants like Alibaba and to track consumer behaviors. Within just three months, Alibaba successfully helped 300,000 Chinese export factories to focus on local consumers.

To secure tech supremacy, China is investing heavily in emerging innovations. Last month, China’s state media announced a US$3 billion plan to build a supercomputing center to analyze data obtained from space by the end of the year. The center will provide big data services for industries such as the aerospace and marine sectors as early as next year.

Taking cues from the central government, companies are also investing in big data. Last month, tech giant Tencent and venture capital firm Sequoia China led a US$25 million funding round in a Chinese big data startup to capitalize on global digitalization efforts.

In Malaysia, where big data analysis is still in its early stages, IDC has forecasted that the BDA market will grow from US$1.1 billion in 2021 to US$1.9 billion in 2025. In this research commissioned by Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), findings show that the services sector will dominate the BDA market, contributing 64% of total spending, followed by banking and telecommunications, with both contributing to a third.

Malaysia has plans to become a regional data hub leader, with capabilities such as big data, IoT and AI. Last month, Microsoft announced that it is establishing its first data center in Malaysia’s Greater Kuala Lumpur area. Estimated to cost US$1 billion, this investment is expected to create 19,000 jobs and generate US$4.6 billion in revenue for Malaysia.

New revenue sources across sectors
Amid big data growth and advances in big data analytics, global telecom operators are well-positioned to take advantage to compete. Apart from transforming customer experiences within to reduce customer churn and improve operational efficiency, the telecommunications industry is in a unique position to mine the sheer volume of data for other sectors as data becomes a key differentiator to stand out among competition.

Insights into big data present telecom operators monetization opportunities when offered to organizations across increasing industries that are recognizing its perks. Such industries include logistics and shipping, as well as the retail industry.

In the logistics industry, for instance, historic data and pattern analysis that take into consideration seasons and cycles can be used for predictive analytics. Insights from data can be used to predict future volumes, route planning using real-time analytics on weather and traffic conditions for route optimization, and more efficient dispatch of transportation vehicles to prevent delays. Predictive analysis also enables robotic systems to scale inventory management in warehouses as needed. Essentially, big data analytics offers visibility and transparency throughout the supply chain so that firms can better respond to immediate real-time information for smoother operations.

Big data also promotes client segmentation and target marketing to attract and retain existing clients in the retail sector. For example, telecom operators can run analytics on consumer data that are sought after by retailers to enhance existing targeted marketing campaigns. More specifically, behavior analytics carried out by telecom operators can help retailers connect with their buyers both online and offline and decide if it is worthwhile opening a store or franchise in a particular precinct.

Given that the telecommunications industry is inextricably linked to organizations in today’s digital age, data-driven insights are an important driver for the continued relevance and prosperity of organizations across diverse sectors. The onus is on telecommunications operators to tap on this growth area.

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