Episode #430: Kantar: How the mobile device is becoming a portable pervasive pinhole to real time insight – with Guy Rolfe

By on December 5, 2012
Guy Rolfe Kantar Mobile

When I say “data collection” what immediately comes to mind? If you are a little older (like me) you tend to think of clipboards and lead pencils and long form surveys or perhaps you think of your national census forms. Whatever image you conjure, it usually isn’t something that you think of often – especially as an industry that is going through some incredible changes due to mobile.

Today, the devices we carry are the new surveying tools and the data they collect is this generation’s gold and, squarely in the middle of all of this, are the tool makers that refine the data into value. Whether you think about it or not, in a few short years mobile has turned an industry that many of us never thought about into one of the most important of our era. Data collection and data mining are the new geek and the software that help businesses make vital decisions are the new prospecting tools.

This is where Kantar sits – in the middle of the shift from active to passive data collection and from stationary screen to a portable pervasive pinhole to real time insight. This is also where this episode with Guy Rolfe, the Mobile Knowledge Leader for Kantar, begins.

If you haven’t given thought to the impact that mobile is having on how data is collected and what data is available this will help explain. We also explore how mobile is shifting this industry by using the appropriate tactics (augmented reality, facial recognition, voice, location) and tools (smartphones, mobile apps, tablets) and how they ease the collection process. We also spend a considerable amount of time discussing the legalities, benefits, pitfalls and opportunities data collection and the data itself will have on how business is conducted.

If you haven’t given this industry much thought – or don’t care to – this is also a great example of how mobile is turning things upside down almost over night.


Here is a quick reference of what we covered in the show. Click on the link and the video will take you to that clip

1. What is Kantar 2:30
2. Are surveys sexy? 4:00
3. Has data collection become too complex due to mobile? 7:30
4. Are their risks for data spoilage due to the ease of collection 11:00
5. Has mobile opened up new opportunities for data collection 13:00
6. How are incumbents coping with the growth of mobile as a data collection tool 14:40
7. What trends are you seeing as a result of mobile in your business 16:00
8. How does Kantar move from new technology to new technology (personal to web to mobile) 17:45
9. What are the advantages to using mobile in data collection 23:35
10. How has mobile impacted the way surveys are created 25:30
11. Is the data as rich and deep with mobile 29:30
12. How important is adding social as data “b-roll” 31:25
13. Market Research in the mobile World conference overview 34:45
14. How does facial recognition and voice control play into data collection and surveying 37:45
15. How did market research become so immersed in the latest technologies? 39:50
16. Do we still need surveys even with access to all the information we have access to? 42:45
17. What is the next great market shift for the research industry 47:15
18. Where are the opportunities for entrepreneurs in this industry 51:40

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About Guy Rolfe
Guy Rolfe Kantar Mobile

Guy Rolfe is the Mobile Knowledge Leader for Kantar, the Insight and Consultancy arm of WPP.

He has overseen the development of Kantar systems to enable mobile research and continues to spearhead the exploration of emerging technologies and techniques.

He also facilitates group-wide collaboration and fosters collective learning, acting as both mobile evangelist and knowledge hub; he works closely with researchers to help them fully explore and exploit the product potential.

Guy has been in market research for more than 18 years and started using mobile phones to collect data some 8 years ago.

About Rob Woodbridge

I'm Rob, the founder of UNTETHER.tv and I've spent 14 years immersed in the mobile and pervasive computing world. During this great time I've helped some of the most innovative companies grow their business through mobile. If you are in need of a mobile business advisor or coach, connect with me here to schedule a 30-minute chat.