Mobile phones are increasingly being used as remote sensors to track outbreaks of disease in remote villages, estimate who has been in proximity of a person with a contagious disease such as tuberculosis, where the hotest night clubs are in a particular city, and where are all the shoppers in a particular shopping center.

This proves the old maxim that meta data, (that is data about data) is often more valuable than the original data. I first heard of this from an executive at Barclays Bank in the UK on a marketing assignment for my employer at the time. To be precise, his comment was that ‘knowing where money is, is often more valuable than the money itself.’ He was referring to the banks wide area networks at the time.

Source: Economist.

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