HarrisX: Using data to understand the 5G opportunity

Dritan Nesho, CEO, HarrisXDritan Nesho, CEO
With carriers and smartphone manufacturers expected to be rolling out 5G technology at a rapid pace over the next two years, the telecom industry is once again at the precipice of transformation and potentially a massive land grab with old and new companies looking to win over market share from market leaders like Apple and Samsung by being a first mover. Whether this will impact Apple and other handset manufacturers, in the long term, is the billion-dollar question. Only time will tell how the consumer and the market will react, right? Not necessarily. Using the right data, wireless carriers, MSOs, and OEMs can understand the 5G market opportunity early, look at consumer sentiment towards existing and improved mobility solutions and penetration and churn rates, and predict when it is the right time to enter the market.

HarrisX is a market research, consulting, and technology services company focused on the telecom, media, and personal technology industries (TMT). The company was spun out of Nielsen in 2017, when it was acquired by The Stagwell Group, and runs the largest syndicated consumer research trackers in the TMT industry, including the noted Mobile Insights and Total Communications Surveys. Its research is all about the connected consumer and our increasingly connected homes and spans wireless services and devices, consumer technology and OEMs, TV/video and cable providers, and the emergence of 5G and IoT. HarrisX’s role is helping these companies make more informed decisions using first-party consumer research and behavioural data, helping remove as much as the guesswork as possible.

For example, companies entering the 5G space will want to know that, according to HarrisX's data, only about half of consumers have heard about 5G – which skews younger, more college educated, more urban, and higher income groups. These consumers expect ultra-fast services from 5G, better online services, and more reliable wireless services. At the same time, these consumers are concerned about higher prices across the mobility landscape, providing a resistance point to the fast consumer adoption of 5G technology.

HarrisX is able to source this data by looking at all the various mobility and IoT-based digital access points: from the smartphones that people carry in their pockets, to wearables they carry and the vehicles they ride in, to researching what innovative OEMs are pushing to the market. The data is collected both from proprietary surveys and metering applications downloaded on consumer technologies. Pooled together, HarrisX collects around 60,000 online surveys per month and can render visibility around most consumer behaviours, not just at a national level, but also across the 105 largest city-based submarkets within the U.S.
“Today, consumer attitudes are easily and accurately measured by online surveys. What is more difficult to come by is determining what consumers do and experience within an operating system or network range,” says Dritan Nesho, CEO and chief researcher at HarrisX. “Consumer recall for these kinds of specific activities is poor, and network related measures are hidden or the experience hard to quantify. That is why we’ve focused on marrying Survey Research with Behavioural Research to understand both consumer attitudes and action across hardware and services in a way that really changes the dynamics of research.”

HarrisX offers four core services when it comes to pervasive connected consumer data curation. They conduct syndicated research, allowing clients ranging from the Big Four carriers to leading OEMs and Wall Street to license the data from their massive first-party surveys, carried out through five continuously running trackers that they have in the market. HarrisX also offers custom research solutions to customers that can tie back and augment the views provided by those syndicated trackers. Additionally, their solutions include metering applications that track behaviour data among the same panel of consumers as well as offer digital targeting solutions for pinpointing and accessing specific audiences, helping utilize the data to move from research to insights to targeting. Their process ensures that the resulting information can be matched to other commercial data sources, which can help to target consumers in the digital ecosystem.

While primarily U.S.-focused today, HarrisX is expanding internationally to the UK and European markets. The company's goal is to develop new solutions on top of their proprietary panels and behavioural data apps. To HarrisX, tying together solutions for the C-Suite is the ultimate goal, a fact exemplified in the company motto of “Data + Creativity=Strategy.”

“You have to start with the best data available, data you can trust,” says Nesho. “And then working with your clients you layer in your instinct, experience, and creativity to provide winning commercial intelligence. That’s what we’re about,” concludes Nesho.