Where start-ups go to find success: A morning at Slush Singapore

The speaker from Skype asked the audience, “How can you change the world?” This question seemed to be the theme of the day at the Slush Singapore convention at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore.

One speaker after another took the stage to impart their wisdom upon the hopeful founders at the Slush Singapore event. Of course, our favorites are the two from Telenor, who shared learnings on big data and personalization with the start-ups in attendance.

Using big data to improve your business

The first “Telenor-ian” to speak was our Group CMO Svein Henning Kirkeng. His advice to start-ups was about big data, and how to leverage it as a competitive advantage. He said that in Telenor, we are trying to reinvent the way we do business every day. And we need to leverage our data resources to improve our business and create more value for our customers.

“Telcos have an incredible amount of data, from multiple sources, and as an industry we have not been as good as we should at leveraging it,” he said.

Telenor is working on putting its data to good use, Svein Henning shared. One example is from Pakistan, where Telenor and partners are using mobile data to predict the spread of epidemics like Dengue.

“Using date in the right way can have significant value beyond business value,” explained Svein Henning.

He also talked about personalized and contextual marketing, asserting that the level of precision in how companies are investing money in their marketing activities has significant room for improvement. To help Telenor gain this precision, they acquired the ad tech company Tapad to more precisely target the receivers of digital marketing messages.

“In dtac, our operation in Thailand, we improved the precision of our digital advertising by 300%. If we are able to use big data and bring it into sales and marketing, we will be able to offer the right products to the right customers at the right times,” said Svein Henning.

Privacy is priority when it comes to using big data, he said. The opportunities are vast, if done right. Privacy, trust and the customer relationships are paramount to doing this right.

“Companies will be at a significant disadvantage if they are not able to use data…and there’s no lack of data today,” he said.

Svein Henning believes that big data + business intelligence = big opportunities, if done right. And for start-ups looking to tap into these vast data resources, it may just mean getting a leg up in an increasingly competitive landscape.

 Welcome to the era of personalization

Telenor’s second speaker, Sajid Rahman, was part of a panel discussion on the era of personalization, and how it relates to healthcare. Sajid is the CEO of Telenor Health, and he spoke with other leading health experts on the technology innovation that is impacting the healthcare industry.

Sajid shared some practical use cases of how technology and healthcare can be blended for the patients’ advantage. One example is the app used by the Telenor Health’s TONIC in Bangladesh, where the user interacts with artificial intelligence initially before being routed to the doctor. The aim is to improve efficiency and expedience in service. In addition, data is used to refine health insurance offerings to customers, taking into account lifestyle data before determining the premium.

Where there’s a mobile network, there’s a scope to change the world

“We live in an interesting world where people have access to mobile networks but not necessarily healthcare. But where there’s a mobile network, there’s a scope to change the world,” said Sajid.

“In Telenor, we want to be there for our customers when they need us the most. And we saw an opportunity with our customer base, as our data can help us customize products and services. This is what we are doing with healthcare,” he added.

The lesson of the day for start-ups at Slush Singapore is about the power of data. The two speakers from Telenor agree: data can be an advantage when used in the right way for the right things. As Sajid said, connectivity can be a means to change the world. It’s up to the start-ups to determine how.