How Quicker Refreshes of IP Geolocation Data Improve the Customer Experience
Nearly every device that connects to a network is issued an IP address. Statista estimates that there are more than 23 billion devices online in 2018, with the total number expected to grow to more than 75 billion by 2025. In fact, there are so many devices online, the last unreserved IPv4 address blocks were allocated in 2011, necessitating the move to IPv6 addresses, which support billions of connected devices.
Millions of new devices come online every day around the world. Mobile phones, laptops, tablets, cable boxes, security cameras, cars and even some refrigerators all need to have IP addresses issued. Some of these devices are given existing IP addresses that have been recycled and some of the devices are given brand new IPv6 addresses.
One of the key attributes of that new IP address is the physical location of the device. Neustar's IP Intelligence decisioning data, which is rooted in our industry-leading identity resolution technology, provides the data that companies need to accurately determine the geographic location of a given device.
We work closely with partners to provide the best customer experience possible by helping clients get the data they need to pinpoint where an IP address is logging in from.
You might wonder "why is IP geolocation data so important?" From a performance perspective, it allows content providers to leverage a direction DNS service, such as Neustar UltraDNS, that connects a device to the closest DNS server. And "closer" means "faster", giving the customer the best user experience possible.
IP geolocation also helps streaming content providers know where a subscriber is located. Knowing this not only helps the "Over the Top" (OTT) provider deliver the best service, but also enables them to comply with geographic restrictions imposed by content creators or regulators. Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM) is a Neustar client, and they rely on our IP geolocation data to make decisions about which games get streamed or get blacked out, based on the location of the viewer's device. The same concept applies to online gambling. Many countries and some U.S. states don't allow online wagering, so the sites need to ensure they know the location of the IP address in order to accept or deny access to the player.
One of the most critical advantages that makes Neustar's IP GeoPoint an industry leader is the ability to provide weekly updates of our decisioning data, while most of our competitors only issue updates once a month. Because IP addresses get recycled periodically, the geolocation data is time sensitive. Thus, any delay in an IP geolocation update means a potentially unhappy customer. A monthly release of IP geolocation data can result in a delay of 2-3 weeks in their ability to accurately determine whether a customer should be allowed to view a sports match, place a bet, or, in some cases, renew their health insurance.
If the customer is not getting the services they have paid for or cannot get their device configured, customer service teams may field calls from unhappy customers and absorb the operational costs associated with the calls. We ensure that customers are accurately located by zip, city, and state by using automated Geofeedback processes that enable weekly updates to IP geolocation data. Our customers are then able to minimize inbound calls of this kind to the customer service team, while at the same time improving the customer experience.
In 2018 Neustar joined the Streaming Video Alliance, whose members include many of the world's largest technology and entertainment brands. IP geolocation decisioning data is one of the rare instances in modern business where sharing information is beneficial and makes every partner stronger. Through this collaborative alliance, the consortium will be able to roll out IP geolocation data quicker and ensure content platforms designed to deliver IPTV, OTT, VOD, and LTE broadcast media get to the right customers and that their experience is as frictionless as possible.