EPJ Data Science Highlight -- What 15 years of mobile data can say about us

August 05, 2015

Large-scale anonymised datasets from mobile phones can give a better picture of society than ever before available. Mobile phone use helps us understand social networks, mobility and human behaviour. A review article recently published in EPJ Data Science highlights the main contributions in the field of mobile phone datasets analysis in the past 15 years. Vincent Blondel from the Université Catholique de Louvain, in Belgium, and colleagues conclude, among other things, that predictions that the world would shrink into a small village have not completely materialised as distance still plays a role. Meanwhile, individuals appear to have highly predictable movements as populations evolve in a remarkably synchronised way.

The authors summarise the main findings from mobile data analysis and provide an overview of the different methodologies that have so far been used to analyse big data from mobile phones in order to better understand social interactions. Such data has previously been used for the study of personal mobility, urban planning, infectious-disease spread, health detection, extreme situation monitoring and country development as well as crime detection and privacy issues.

The work is based on analysing call data records (CDRs) used by mobile phone operators for billing purposes. But CDRs also contain an enormous amount of information on how, when, and with whom we communicate. And they may be coupled to personal data on customers such as age or gender.

Bearing in mind that this is a relatively new field, the review also points to the inherent shortcomings of this data. For example, further systematic research on the impact of data sampling to check whether results data that only concerns part of a population can be generalised. The research that has been conducted so far only represents the tip of the iceberg, and the authors suggest that such data could ultimately be used to save lives.
-end-
References:

V. D. Blondel et al. (2015), A survey of results on mobile phone dataset analysis, Eur. Phys. J. Data Science 4:10, DOI 10.1140/epjds/s13688-015-0046-0

Springer

Related Mobile Phone Articles from Brightsurf:

Swirl power: how gentle body movement will charge your mobile phone
Scientists have discovered a way to generate electricity from nylon - the stretchy fabric used widely in sportswear and other shape-hugging apparel - raising hopes that the clothes on our backs will become an important source of energy.

Association of mobile phone location data indications of travel, stay-at-home mandates with COVID-19 infection rates in US
Anonymous mobile phone location data were used to examine travel and home dwelling time patterns before and after enactment of stay-at-home orders in US states to examine associations between changes in mobility and the COVID-19 curve.

Security gap allows eavesdropping on mobile phone calls
Calls via the LTE mobile network, also known as 4G, are encrypted and should therefore be tap-proof.

Some mobile phone apps may contain hidden behaviors that users never see
A team of cybersecurity researchers has discovered that a large number of cell phone applications contain hardcoded secrets allowing others to access private data or block content provided by users.

How secure are four and six-digit mobile phone PINs?
A German-American team of IT security researchers has investigated how users choose the PIN for their mobile phones and how they can be convinced to use a more secure number combination.

World's smelliest fruit could charge your mobile phone
Pungent produce packs an electrical punch. New method using world's 'most repulsive smelling fruit' could 'substantially reduce' the cost of energy storage.

LTE vulnerability: Attackers can impersonate other mobile phone users
Exploiting a vulnerability in the mobile communication standard LTE, also known as 4G, researchers at Ruhr-Universit├Ąt Bochum can impersonate mobile phone users.

A photo taken with a mobile phone to detect frauds in rice labelling
Including plastic that is undetectable by the consumer or distorting the quality of the product are some of the frauds facing the third most consumed cereal in the world: rice.

Mapping disease outbreaks in urban settings using mobile phone data
A new EPFL and MIT study into the interplay between mobility and the 2013 and 2014 dengue outbreaks in Singapore has uncovered a legal void around access to mobile phone data -- information that can prove vital in preventing the spread of infectious diseases.

Mobile phone data reveals non-market value of coastal tourism under climate change
Big data application is an emerging field in climate change adaptation.

Read More: Mobile Phone News and Mobile Phone Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.