Trendit: Mapping Population Movements Through Mobile Signals
Last summer, tens of thousands of Israelis were calling for social justice in the streets around the country. One of the protests was called the “March of the Million” – named for the one million people who were expected to attend in early September 2011.
For the first time, proponents and opponents of the march were not able to argue about the amount of people who showed up to the protest, as a new tool was able to describe pretty accurately how many people attended, as well as establish more complex demographics. For example, this new technology established that 52 percent of protestors belonged to the lower class, and 48 percent were residents of Tel Aviv, according to Israeli website The Marker.
Behind this data stands the Israeli startup Trendit, which develops technologies to analyze population traffic based on real-time location using mobile phone signals. Trendit recently launched a new service called People Analytics version 2.0 – a pun on Google Analytics’ service which enables real-time analysis of web traffic.
The People Analytics’ system allows businesses to know which customers are visiting the area in which their business is located. Using this tool, business owners can receive information such as which socio-economic class their customers belong to, what their buying force is, where they live and where is best to focus marketing efforts.
In addition, the system can also analyze data such as number of passers-by at any given time of day, average length of stay in the area, which day and hours are the busiest during the week and what time is the weakest in terms of traffic. The system also compares between several locations, such as branches of the same network or different malls.
Solutions for small businesses
Trendit was founded by Dr. Erez Weinroth, after he conducted a research and found it difficult to obtain data on the movement of people from one area to another. “There wasn’t any company that gave an answer as to where the population is in real time. I started with data from the Central Bureau of Statistics and from research company Nielsen. However, their information is ad hoc – a pointed survey which doesn’t indicate spatial distribution,” explains Weinroth, who is also the company’s CEO.
“The general recommendation for those interested in setting up shop is to sit for three to four days in the designated area and collect information. If you’ll check the area in our system you’ll immediately get these figures,” says Weinroth.
The service is available for small, medium and large businesses, for a monthly fee of $20, $73 or $130. So far, Trendit has primarily worked with large clients, such as small malls or municipalities who receive more detailed reports.
The data collection is done by monitoring cellular signals of time and position, derived from mobile phones. Weinroth claims that the accuracy rate of the technology is 85 percent. “We can decipher the area of the mobile signal, as well as where the signal comes from, where it goes to at night to understand socio-economic distribution,” he explains. Trendit works with one major cellular operator in Israel.
The startup says that the technology doesn’t violate users’ privacy, since its signals are anonymous and cannot be traced to a phone number. “We are collecting data that represents groups’ trends, you cannot draw conclusions regarding a specific person,” says Weinroth.
Since the system monitors the area in real time, and doesn’t test a specific time sample, it is possible to measure the effect of marketing campaigns through it. “The main goal for a marketing manager is usually to increase the length of stay. Thanks to this data he can see the exact impact of opening a new store or a marketing campaign,” explains Miki Levinshtain, director of sales and the company spokeswoman.
Via The Marker