Wireless Carriers Could Monetize Big Data from M2m and GPS Using SpaceCurve

By Joan Engebretson October 18, 2012

Start-up company SpaceCurve hopes to capitalize on the intersection between a couple of hot trends – Big Data and the Internet of Things.

SpaceCurve CEO John Slitz explained in an interview that the company is developing what it calls “immersive location intelligence” – software capable of storing huge databases that can be analyzed and acted upon in real time.

It’s a product Slitz believes is sorely needed as sensor networks supported by machine-to-machine (m2m) communications generate unprecedented amounts of data. Communications service providers are one of the key markets that SpaceCurve sees for the product.

Immersive Location Intelligence

SpaceCurve coined the term “immersive location intelligence” because the firm “wanted to draw a distinction between location and what we see as immersive” technology,” Slitz said. “It’s a new structure to hold data that is particularly good at [handling] Internet of Things-type data…Our technology allows petabytes of information to be analyzed in real time.”

Current database software offerings such as Oracle or SQL share “a common basic mathematic infrastructure of how data is stored,” explained Slitz.

But SpaceCurve has broken that mold.

“We think in terms of four-dimensional space [with] three physical dimensions and time,” Slitz said. Using this information SpaceCurve lets users isolate quadrants that offer an “immersive view of reality.”

Slitz cited the example of an urban street corner.

The software could potentially track the passage of cars and identities of people in the car and of those people walking on the street, matching that information with demographic information of interest to retailers.

“If you take it as a quadrant in space, things are changing on a moment-by-moment basis,” said Slitz – and different end users will be interested in focusing on different aspects of that activity.

The SpaceCurve database aims to pull data from a wide range of sources – such as Department of Motor Vehicle information, transaction processing systems, and even Doppler radar. Communications service providers are uniquely positioned to also add location information.

By pulling and correlating information from multiple sources in real time, service providers or their clients would be able to offer highly targeted marketing messages by, for example, recommending retailers that are likely to interest the end user based on end user interests when the end user is in the vicinity of those retailers.

It’s not a totally new idea, but SpaceCurve hopes that by adding additional intelligence, those marketing messages can be finely honed to the point where end users see them as a benefit.

All of this may sound Big Brother-like – and Slitz said service providers are approaching the possibilities with a high level of sensitivity to privacy issues.

“They are looking for the capability to turn [information] into intelligent services and monetize [them] without transgressing security,” Slitz said. For example, he said service providers wouldn’t offer the sorts of targeted messages that SpaceCurve can support without first asking customers to opt in.

And not every application of the SpaceCurve technology is marketing-focused. Perhaps one of the most widely appealing applications that carriers could support is enhanced emergency response for cities and governments.

Baby steps

Service providers could potentially use SpaceCurve software initially to enhance their own network – using the real-time analytic tools to quickly address any service issues. Longer term, service providers may opt to use SpaceCurve as a platform for their own marketing efforts – or may simply provide the capability for clients to use.

“They may come out with a whole set of capabilities that binds someone to services that the carrier is uniquely able to offer,” said Slitz. “Or they may license the ability to do this with raw data to vendors.”

SpaceCurve’s product is targeted for general availability around April 2013 but the company plans to conduct trials with a pre-release version of the software later this year or early next year. Slitz said the company is in talks with two communications service providers about possibly participating in those trials.

Service providers recognize that they are uniquely positioned to leverage location information and will want to monetize that information one way or another.

Contributing Editor

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