02 March 2015
A former consultant in the telecoms space at McKinsey & Co, Belgian entrepreneur Sebastien Deletaille founded Real Impact Analytics (RIA) in September 2010, having observed a profitable gap in the market.
Deletaille says he noticed that
operators were not doing anything with the large amounts of
data generated on their networks.
simply with excel spreadsheets, and a focus on geo-marketing,
Deletaille has built RIA into a specialised big data player in
the telecoms space, focussed on embedding analytics into the
day-to-day lives of its clients’ teams.
"What we do
is look at what a particular user does all day, and from that
we work out how we can implement analytics into everything he
does in order to ensure he gets the best value out of his
data," Deletaille explains.
differentiates itself from other big data players by targeting
emerging markets. One of its present projects is the Data for
Good initiative which uses telecoms data to support development
agencies in these emerging markets as they attempt to eradicate
extreme poverty, hunger and disease.
data is often the richest form of data you can find in a
country," Deletaille says. "When you don’t have
any government data, having telecoms data that represents
mobility, behaviour and social demographics is extremely
The Data for
Good initiative develops applications that enable these
emerging markets to extract and utilise telecoms data for the
good of their community; with the Ebola crisis in West Africa
providing a timely example. Telecoms data allows country
officials to monitor people moving from one city to the next,
and therefore estimate how quickly the virus is spreading.
actually obtain a very accurate prediction of how fast the
virus will spread, just by looking at the mobility of people,"
Deletaille says. "We have also been working with different
telcos in these regions to ensure that we are respecting
privacy laws when we do this as that is very important."
stresses that the aim is not to target individuals likely to
get Ebola, but rather to focus more efficiently on its
prevention in areas where the virus is prominent.
despite good working relationships with the UN and the World
Health Organisation, Deletaille says that his biggest challenge
is working with some governments in emerging markets which are
preventing the adoption of big data analytics.
As a result,
he spends roughly two weeks every month abroad; working in the
field to explain his vision, catching up with teams in his
offices worldwide and building the culture he says is "so
essential for start-ups".
Real Impact Analytics,