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Virgin Media O2 Business, ONS to share mobility data
Thu, 4th Apr 2024

Virgin Media O2 Business has partnered with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to supply anonymised and aggregated data from its O2 Motion service.

This collaboration aims to support government operations on both national and local levels by providing information on patterns of population movement, travel dynamics, and other related trends.

From the aforementioned date, the anonymised data from mobile network insights provided by Virgin Media O2 Business will be incorporated into the Integrated Data Service (IDS). The IDS, as delivered by the ONS, is a cloud-based platform intended to enhance speedy and efficient decision-making across critical policy areas.

The IDS is a first-of-its-kind data-sharing interface, facilitating collaborative data analyses, thereby supporting policy design at both national and local levels. This mechanism provides accredited researchers with direct access to O2 mobility data without the need for further individual agreements, making it a cost-effective venture for government users. The insertion of O2 motion mobility data into the IDS will afford users the opportunity of harnessing data to tackle complex social challenges in areas such as public health, regional growth, climate change, jobs and skills.

In addition to the IDS platform, O2 Motion data will be amalgamated with ONS surveys and administrative data sources in a bid to create a series of future publications on topics such as small area population estimates. This vital information will be made available to the public via the ONS website regularly. The ultimate goal is for the IDS to empower policymakers, researchers and the public to make informed decisions that will drive positive change, potentially leading to a smarter and more connected future for the UK.

Presently, the IDS platform is in its public beta phase. Implementation plans are underway for it to scale-up its data releases and capability over the coming months. The transformation will see more projects, data, and users integrated into the platform. The O2 Motion data already embedded will be updated weekly to facilitate real-time analysis.

Geooff Wappett, Head of AI and Data Insights at Virgin Media O2 Business, has expressed pride at the extension of their partnership with ONS. He said, "Generated from billions of daily network events, our mobile data will provide governmental organisations and officials with reliable information to inform their work addressing major societal challenges at pace. Beyond numbers, the IDS platform and our wider work with ONS will ensure that quality insights are easily accessible to support data-driven decision making."