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Virgin Media O2 to provide mobility data to UK Government
Thu, 4th Apr 2024

Virgin Media O2 Business has been chosen by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to provide anonymised mobility data to aid various levels of Government across the United Kingdom. The essential data delivered by the mobile communications company will provide insights into population dynamics, travel patterns, and other movement trends.

O2 Business's anonymised and aggregated data service, O2 Motion, will be included in the Integrated Data Service (IDS). The IDS is a pioneering data-sharing platform provided by ONS designed to enhance decision-making speed and efficiency across key policy sectors.

This platform is the first of its kind, serving as a collaborative tool allowing for synchronised data analysis. This enables better-informed policy decisions to be made at both national and local levels. O2's mobility results are now accessible to accredited researchers on the IDS, removing the necessity for further data agreement processes and providing a more cost-effective solution for government users.

The inclusion of O2's mobility insights into the IDS has the potential to empower users to utilise data more effectively to tackle complex societal challenges. These challenges range from regional growth, jobs and skills to more global issues such as climate change and public health.

In addition to being available on the IDS platform, O2 Motion data will also be integrated with ONS surveys and administrative data sources. This integration will contribute to a future series of publications that will concentrate on topics such as small-area population estimates. Towards this end, ONS regularly releases publications on its website, allowing policymakers, researchers, and the public to stay informed about the latest developments.

Operating currently in its public beta stage, the IDS platform, along with the individual data releases, will evolve and expand over the coming months. A planned pipeline of additional capability, data, and projects has been scheduled, along with user onboarding. The O2 Motion data is now available on the platform and will be updated weekly, thus enabling real-time analysis.

Geoff Wappet, Head of AI and Data Insights at Virgin Media O2 Business, spoke on this development: "We are proud to extend our partnership with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and to integrate our aggregated and anonymised O2 Motion data into their Integrated Data Service (IDS)."

"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 quality insights are easily accessible to support data-driven decision-making."

The partnership between Virgin Media O2 Business and the Office for National Statistics (ONS), culminating in the integration of O2 Motion data into the Integrated Data Service (IDS), marks a significant advancement in data-driven decision-making for governmental organisations. As the IDS platform evolves and expands, alongside regular data updates, it promises to be a vital tool in facilitating real-time analysis and informed decision-making across various levels of government.