At Mobile World Congress (MWC) this weekend, Telefónica launched AURA, a new app to allow customers to control the data generated by using the operator’s products and services in a transparent and secure manner.
Telefónica claims it is the first company in the telcoms industry to allow customers to manage their relationship with their service provider using cognitive intelligence.
AURA, which can be used as a phone app and interacts with Amazon’s smart Echo speaker, will allow users to decide whether to share insights generated from their data with third parties. It can also answer questions about Telefónica services, manage access to the Wi-Fi router, provide information about the user’s favorite TV shows and issue alerts when data consumption is greater than usual. AURA will be able to make recommendations about offers of products and services.
Each user will have a “personal data space”; the memory which will store the digital trace they leave when using Telefónica products and services. “It’s a new way of empowering customers,” Chief Executive Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete told a news conference in Barcelona. “We are offering that the network belongs to them.”
Telefónica calls AURA its “fourth platform” and describes how it follows years of infrastructure and technology investments totalling €48 billion ($51 billion) over the past five years to transform the business into a digital platform. Read more about Telefónica’s digital transformation here, including its fourth platform and the use of TM Forum assets to support and accelerate progress.
A leap in customer experience
Pallete says, “AURA redefines the interaction between Telefónica and its customers in a safe and simple environment, with transparency and control over personal information.”
He adds, “The fourth platform will make cognitive sense of this flow of data. Until now, this data was generated in an uninterrupted, although fragmented, manner by the networks and other physical assets of the company (1st platform, Telefónica’s core asset), its unified IT systems (2nd platform), as well as the products and services it offers to its users (3rd platform). These smart platforms will imply a major qualitative leap in the customers’ experience with the company.”
“Now people can no longer call us a dumb pipe,” Pallete is quoted as saying after the presentation.
Data for good
The global charity UNICEF also participated in the presentation, aiming to demonstrate the great social potential of data when it is anonymized, shared and combined. With AURA, users will be able to share anonymized data about, for example, mobility or use of mobile services. The United Nations agency could use this data to improve the quality of its predictive models, improving its response to children in cases of natural disasters or health emergencies.
“As UNICEF continues to innovate in an increasingly complex world, we need to agree with new partners and use new technologies to solve the biggest challenges facing children. In crises like natural disasters, diseases, and the ongoing movement of millions of children because of war and violence, UNICEF knows that partners and technologies are key to our ability to understand the world and act quickly. We are excited to work with Telefónica, and our other major technology partners, to build solutions to the most pressing issues of our time”, said Christopher Fabian, Co-Founder of UNICEF Innovation.
Javier Oliván, Vice-President of Growth at Facebook, also presented an interesting example of the potential of new data collaborations, in this case through Facebook Safety Check – used during disasters or other emergencies. When Safety Check is activated, Facebook will be able to prompt Telefónica customers who may have been affected to verify their safety. No personal information is shared with Facebook.
“We are excited to partner with Telefónica to improve experiences like Safety Check, so members of our community can let friends and family know they’re safe if they happen to be near a disaster area”, said Mark Zuckerberg, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Facebook.