Special Issue on Mobile Traffic Analytics

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TitleSpecial Issue on Mobile Traffic Analytics
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsFiore, M, Shafiq, Z, Smoreda, Z, Stanica, R, Trasarti, R
JournalComputer Communications
AbstractThis Special Issue of Computer Communications is dedicated to mobile traffic data analysis. This is an emerging field of research that stems from the increasing pervasiveness in our lives of always-connected mobile devices. These devices continuously collect, generate, receive or communicate data; in doing so, they leave trails of digital crumbs that can be followed, recorded and analysed in many and varied ways, and for a number of different purposes. From a data collection perspective, applications running on smartphones allow tracking user activities with extreme accuracy, in terms of mobility, context, and service usage. Yet, having individuals informedly install and run software that monitors their actions is not obvious; finding adequate incentives is equivalently complex. The other option is gathering mobile traffic data in the mobile network. This is an increasingly common practice for telecommunication operators: the collection of minimum information required for billing is giving way to in-depth inspection and recording of mobile service usages in space and time, and of traffic flows at the network edge and core. In this case, data access remains the major impediment, due to privacy and industrial secrecy reasons. Despite the issues inherent to the data collection, the richness of knowledge that can be extracted from the aforementioned sources is such that actors in both academia and industry are putting significant effort in gathering, analysing and possibly making available mobile traffic data. Indeed, mobile traffic data typically contain information on large populations of individuals (from thousands to millions users) with high spatio-temporal granularity. The combination of accuracy and coverage is unprecedented, and it has proven key in validating theories and scaling up experimental studies in a number of research fields across many disciplines, including physics, sociology, epidemiology, transportation systems, and, of course, mobile networking. As a result, we witness today a rapid growth of the literature that proposes or exploits mobile traffic analytics. Included in this Special Issue are eight papers that cover a significant portion of the different research topics in this area, ranging from data collection to the characterization of land use and mobile service consumption, from the inference and prediction of user mobility to the detection of malicious traffic. These papers were selected from 30 high-quality submissions after at least two rounds of reviews by experts and guest editors. The original submissions were received from five continents and a variety of countries, including Austria, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, China, France, Germany, Italy, South Korea, Luxembourg, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, USA. The accepted papers reflect this geographical heterogeneity, and are authored by researchers based in Europe, North and South America.