Opinion

The personal cloud habits of mobile carrier customers

Sejung Yun
29th Aug 2017
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The personal cloud is one of the most revealing spaces for offline user behaviour.

Inside a user’s cloud you’ll find files of all sorts and pictures - hundreds and thousands of them if you have your cloud set to upload automatically when connected to Wi-Fi. It’s a treasure trove of user behaviour both on and offline.

As a white-label cloud service provider, one of the luxuries I have is to see statistics from the uploads. Data across mobile carrier customers from five different emerging markets to be exact. Granted, we have nowhere near Google’s volumes of data, but still, 115 million in photos alone tell us quite a bit about user behaviour.

These are some of the leftover stats I had after our white paper project. As I’ve seen quite a few major companies release statistics and data reports lately. So, here’s us flexing our business intelligence (BI) capabilities!

Lights, camera, vacations!

This is video and image upload rates of growth for one of our mobile carriers. Surprising here is the fluctuation between video and image uploads. Off the bat, you can gleam consumer behaviour based on the seasons.

For example, video uploads peak in the summer seasons of June and July. These two months are the only times' video surpasses image uploads in terms of uploaded file growth. The nature of the summer months certainly lends to video-worthy outdoor activities such as surfing, climbing, and outdoor sports.

Now if you look at December and November, you can see image spikes while video drops off for the year. Again, we can infer that the holidays combined with the chill of winter means lots of pictures indoors of family gatherings and fit exchanges among other things. However, not as many action-heavy sequences inside the house.

For us, we want to ensure that our customers know about these trends. As much as personal cloud is service in and of itself, people often forget that it’s a medium to receive insight into consumer behaviour.

Paying ‘the man’

Here’s a stat from one of our mobile carriers that fluctuates a bit more. As you can see here, user upload growth percentages vary quite drastically, although they generally follow the same trends.

One stat that does stick out though is the increase in excel uploads between March to April and then again in August to October. For the sake of this article I tried to find out what causes the spikes in excel files; the latter spike was just a combination of different reasons, the former had one very specific cause.

Tax season!

During tax season, between the exchange of emails and spreadsheets with accountants and customers having a file or two downloaded certainly doesn’t hurt.

Again, for a service provider, knowing that the tax season elicits a certain type of behaviour from consumers. One could easily set services or campaigns designed to assist consumers during this time.

Video is the future

I hear quite a lot about the sheer strength of video across a number of different verticals and metrics. Whether it’s engagement, views or even conversions, it’s hard to argue how far video has come as a digital medium.

This was one of the cooler graphs I came across recently as you can literally see the lead change between how much space is occupied by images and by video.

What’s even more surprising is that video represents only 1 percent of all uploaded files on our cloud across all deployments. Yet by sheer data volume, video easily surpasses images by a mile.

To the point

The luxury of this job is that I can break these figures down into even more detail. A microscopic look at the trends by days and months — or even comparisons across users from different countries.

When I come across a lot of investors, going into the data analytics side still gets the biggest reaction given that personal cloud is a service that in tech years, is often labelled ancient. Seriously, barring emails and to a degree, social media, I doubt a service is able to gather as much information about user behaviour as a personal cloud.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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