The data obtained from the mobile network on the movement of crowds provides useful information to support decision-making. When combined with other data sets, however, understanding and opportunities grow exponentially. We will be seeking ideas for combining data at the Junction hackathon with our Wisdom of Crowds challenge.
We launched the Telia Crowd Insights service in March 2018. Since then, our data has been utilised in the planning of public transport, in analysing the impacy of events and improving the vitality of cities. During these client projects, we have learned that understanding grows when the observations made based on mobile network data are compared and merged with other data.
Comparing data helps in understanding the results
In a before-after study of the West Metro introduction carried out in collaboration with Helsinki Region Transport (HSL) and the transport consultancy company Strafica, other data were used in particular to assess the results. Comparing the trips identified by Crowd Insights to the traffic models produced on the basis of a travel survey, and the origins and destinations to the population and jobs in the region made it possible to establish the reliability of the results and identify the strengths and weaknesses of the mobile network data.
Other data can also be used to explain people’s movement behaviour. The weather data allowed us to identify the reason for the clearly diminished amount of movement. It turned out that a record snowstorm had kept people indoors, which was also directly reflected in the sales of a grocery shop in Sundsvall.
Examining July in Helsinki, the Event Calendar explains the abnormally large number of people in the district of Suvilahti during the We Love Festival from the 27th to the 28th of July.
Comparisons with other data may also reveal latent potential. When analysing the motorcycle race the Imatranajo in Imatra, we found that the event attracts relatively few people from outside South Karelia. However, the potential in the core target group alone – motorsport enthusiasts – is significant, for example, in the provinces of Uusimaa and Kanta-Häme, when you compare the number of visitors and members of motorcycle clubs. Similarly, in examining the catchment area of a shopping centre, a comparison between the population of different regions and the visitors from them to the shopping centre reveals areas containing potential new customers.
Seeking ideas for combining data at Junction
Even greater value is achieved when completely new observations are made or entirely new services are built as a result of merging data sets. That is the reason we will participate in Junction. We are challenging teams to develop new concepts for continuous service, combining Telia Crowd Insights data with other data and machine learning methods. In order to offer the participants great resources for amazing projects, we will provide them with several months’ time series of Crowd Insights data, suggestions of other data sources, Esri tools and technology, and industry experts as mentors.
The result may, for example, be a model for predicting traffic accidents, such as this model* built without mobile network data by Esri in Utah, USA. Or perhaps identifying the movement patterns in the Crowd Insights data and combining them with weather and event data will make it possible to forecast the demand for transportation services. Or something completely different but equally exciting.
For us, Junction is an opening to make Crowd Insights data more widely available to developers and researchers. In the near future, we will publish demo data set that will be freely available. We will also begin to provide data for researchers. The more people participate in brainstorming on the possibilities offered by mobile network data, the more widely this data will be utilised.
Tapio Levä is heading the Analytics business at Telia Finland. Since his doctoral thesis, his passion has been to promote the use of innovations in business and service development. When he is not thinking about development models and business strategies, he is running with a basketball or a compass in his hand and exploring new environments with a curious mind – both near and far.
Learn more here about the way continuously available mobile communications’ network data provide information on the true transportation needs of crowds of people.