We have assumed that the mobile is a complete and powerful tool, but we don’t fall in that the benefit will not only face the user. When something becomes an extension of our hands and is a source of reception and data transmission, We leave a footprint that can be translated as statistics to try to determine some aspects of our society, and that’s what study from the University of Washington in Rwuanda.
Again today focuses on one African country, another region that does not escape the rise of users that we have seen in Tanzania, Nigeria and other countries of the continent. In this case we speak of a 70% increase in the use of mobile penetration at the end of 2014, an increase of some 50.600 clients of operators per month from the previous year as the RURA (Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency).
A figure that there will be continued to grow apace given the number already observed in the Ericsson report on the State of the mobile market in June of this year, which highlighted the growth in the number of new users of mobile on the African continent. Enough region that we have seen develop gradually in the field to exploit favorite of some technology companies nothing modest.
More users, more information.
Which today comes from the hand of GeekWire is a study carried out by Joshua Blumenstock, Gabriel Cadamuro, and Robert On, researchers from the universities of Washington and Bereckley, that arises the use of mobile phone use data to get an idea of the economic level of the user. Explains SATO that the country chosen has been Rwanda to fit into the profile of the region in which it is complicated and expensive to obtain demographic data.
We focus on the countries with the highest index of poverty because it is where we believe that there is greater need (what pose), and is in these locations where demographic data are often unreliable or directly there
Remember in his work that the geographical distribution of poverty is a basic when making a decision to carry out the hand of foundations aid projects. Information than when it’s in developing countries is alarmingly low, In contrast to countries with better economy, where there are data from social networks, unemployment, election results and other aspects.
So, this research team has focused on the use of mobile phones showing that It can be used to predict the economic level both at the level of the region as individual. In fact it is something already raised another research team earlier this year in another aspect, demonstrating that the tracking of mobile signals can be a resource in the prediction of the epidemiology of infectious diseases, in this case focusing on Kenya.
Knowing the user to the detail to establish an image of the country
In this way, SATO and his team have done what examine the relationship between the use of mobile and the economic level of the region, focusing on the individual signals to see how far the predictions can be accurate. I.e. you posed is that this relationship ceases to be a hypothesis to directly prove it and be useful in improving aspects such as access to the information or the effects of policy interventions.
As for the retrieved the information from the use of the terminals (preserving anonymity at all times), as well as the frequency and the moments in which occur the communications, they can determine patterns of displacement (and the most frequent destinations), data on consumption as well as a reflection of the social structures of each individual. In this way, the graphic result of thorough consideration is a high-resolution map of the economic level of.
To establish your prediction model has been based on a collection of data at two levels. They have been counting on the one hand, with the data of use of 856 users in the country together with the information obtained by a series of questionnaires by the same, including aspects such as what belongings they have (motorcycles, televisions, etc.). On the other hand, as well as respondents individuals have had large amount of consumption data phone of all the users of mobile from the country of the previous year.
A small sample of a future great utility
As often happens with studies, sample that is carried out is very low with respect to the total actual sample. Therefore, the researchers compared the results obtained on the economic level of your sample with census data from Rwanda and obtained a 90% correlation. This is why they believe that working with this information can be so advantageous as necessary above all in countries with difficult access to information.
In fact, the advantage of working with these data in particular (with a total of 2148 towers of mobile signal in Rwanda) not only is that it can be treated both to individual and national levels (and may also focus on regions), something that does not happen with public data (which are only available at the district level). It also is beneficial is that the cost is much lower than other types of studies. It explains SATO that the total cost was $12,000, a small figure compared to the millions that cost surveys at the national level.
His work also helps to remember the importance of regulation and protection in terms of data that are generated, not only at the level of the mobile phone but the network in general
Add, also face privacy in the treatment of the information, as his work helps to remember the importance of regulation and protection in terms of data generated, not only at the level of mobile phone but the network in general (purchasing, social networks, etc.). Something this team also is involved and where, he explains, there is much work to do.