Telia has taken part in a $17.5 million funding round for location data specialist Unacast, whose founders helped set up the TIDAL music streaming service now owned by Jay-Z.

Unacast’s Real World Graph platform is based on indoor and outdoor data collected from the interactions mobile devices have with location products and sensors.

The Norway-based company said the platform and its own algorithms offered the likes of advertisers and governments real-time data to improve their products and services.

Unacast CEO Thomas Walle, who spent three years as Director of Business Development at TIDAL, said: "As Unacast expands into new verticals and new geographies, we wanted a strong industry partner and investor that represents a vital piece of the location puzzle - connectivity and cell tower location data.

“Our goal is to understand how people move about the real world, and present the best possible contextualised data so that businesses can build better products and make better decisions.

“That is not a trivial task, but this new funding will allow us to accelerate our investment in innovation and quality products for our partners, clients and the ecosystem.”

Telia, which did not reveal exactly how much it had invested, said Unacast would enable it to help the likes of retailers to better plan how to lay out their stores and city planners to work out where to place street furniture.

Brendan Ives, Head of Division X, Telia Company, said: “By investing and forming a partnership between Unacast and Division X, Telia’s unit for emerging businesses and innovation hub, we can combine our datasets and offer real-time and richer insights to support a wider range of customer needs.

“Over time, as more industries get connected we foresee the need for data orchestration, so that companies can share and trade data in a secure and trustworthy way, and provide more seamless and personalised experiences to their end users.”

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