Carrier IQ cares. Or, rather, for Carrier IQ, it's all about care. The much-maligned California analytics company has weathered the Great Privacy Scandal of 2011 and today at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona announced a new product for its customers -- the operators -- to give greater transparency to consumers -- that's you and me -- regarding data being collected from your smartphones and tablets.
Let's be clear here: You are not Carrier IQ's customer. It provides network and hardware analytics capabilities to companies that sell smartphones by the millions, not folks like you and me who buy them every year or so (or, in our case, more often). That's not to say that CIQ is deaf to the recent surge in the push for privacy. Far from it. And that's not to say it hasn't learned a thing or two since everybody started to care about on-board analytics. It most certainly has.
And that brings us to today's announcement.
Dubbed the "Customer Experience Dashboard," CIQ will begin offering -- again, to operators, not to end-users directly -- tools that the operators can then use to show their users basic fault explanations. Is your phone's battery draining? Dropping a lot of calls? Constantly rebooting? CIQ's new tools would all the operator to better explain to you what's going on with your phone, as well as with the network it's on. CIQ would essentially provide APIs to the operators, who then could build into their own websites the ability to see exactly what's going on with your phone.
It's a twofold proposition. At its core, the idea is to place some of the customer care onus back onto the customer, specifically to cut down on customer care phone calls. In other words, to help you help yourself. That, in turn, saves the operator money. It's also a great opportunity for the operator to show exactly what sort of data it's harvesting from your phone. But -- and this is a pretty big "but" -- it's up to the operator to implement any or all of this. As with Carrier IQ's current suite of products, it's completely customizable to for each operator and platform. It doesn't (and probably wouldn't) look like what you see in the picture above. Operators would be free to customize and present as much data as it sees fit, and in whatever manner it sees fit. And as of right now, it's still completely optional (and in fact will raise the cost of the CIQ platform for the operator).
For our part, we believe that would be money well spent by the operators. As much as the operators need analytics, the end-users need greater transparency. And done right (there's always a catch, right?), the operators could conceivably kill two birds with one stone here: continue to learn about the devices it supports in a real-time manner, and do so in a way that doesn't scare the hell out of its users.