New approach to psychological user profiling in the telco industry

Research used for product recommendations

Telecommunications companies and other marketers will be able to predict the types of services people want on their mobile phones, as a result of research developed by m.Net Corporation and Adelaide University.

The collaboration uses a new approach to "user profiling" that provides more personalized information than existing systems.

m.Net Corporation and the University of Adelaide's commercial development arm, Adelaide Research & Innovation Pty Ltd (ARI) have signed an agreement to commercialise the jointly developed intellectual property.

The team received an Australian Research Council (ARC) linkage grant in 2004, for a project valued at $458,000, to develop new approaches to psychological user profiling in the telecommunications industry. The project's results are now the subject of a provisional patent.

m.Net Corporation director of research Dr Marisa Mackay said this new approach will eliminate labour-intensive manual "tagging" and identify a more personalised, multi-category approach to identify user behaviours.

"This can provide more personalised predictions than other systems, which assign each user to just a single category," Dr Mackay said.

"The research will allow m.Net to make predictions not just about which users will download which products, but when particular users may be more likely to download particular products."

Scott Johnson, m.Net's marketing director, said that the patented method is all about `mobile behavioural targeting' by marketers.

"Especially as mobile advertising increases over the next few years, the ability to predict what people will do next on their mobiles will become more and more valuable," Johnson said.

Research Fellow Dr Dan Navarro, from the University of Adelaide's School of Psychology, said the new technology incorporated innovative psychological modelling.

"When completed, the components of the research should make it possible to provide accurate product recommendations based on how specific users behave over time," Navarro said.

ARI deputy director Dr Elaine Stead said that the commercialisation agreement illustrated the benefits of collaboration between the private and academic sectors.

"The m.Net work has real-world commercial applications and provides our students with an opportunity to work at the leading edge of a global industry that is moving at a fast pace," Stead added.

m.Net has successfully transformed itself from a government backed organisation, funded by an Advanced Networks Program grant in 2001, to a commercial entity competing on a national level.

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