Lean data science with Apache Spark

AARON MERLOB | June 3, 2016

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I treat every data science project as if it were a lean start-up. Here’s how it goes: I picture myself as a dashingly handsome entrepreneur who’s determined to change the world—or change how something works at the company that hired me. My journey begins by understanding what works and what’s broken for my customers—the internal or external stakeholders...

Spotlight

LearnQuest

For twenty years, LearnQuest has been the leading provider of global IT and Business Skills training for corporations and government agencies. An award winner for Innovation in Learning Effectiveness, LearnQuest offers classroom, virtual, and self-paced training in a wide variety of formats to match today’s learner needs. LearnQuest designs, develops and delivers training on hundreds of IT topics such as Cloud, Analytics, Big Data, Mobile, Security and Business Skills areas, including Project Management, Business Analysis and Leadership.

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Transforming the Gaming Industry with AI Analytics

Article | September 2, 2021

In 2020, the gaming market generated over 177 billion dollars, marking an astounding 23% growth from 2019. While it may be incredible how much revenue the industry develops, what’s more impressive is the massive amount of data generated by today’s games. There are more than 2 billion gamers globally, generating over 50 terabytes of data each day. The largest game companies in the world can host 2.5 billion unique gaming sessions in a single month and host 50 billion minutes of gameplay in the same period. The gaming industry and big data are intrinsically linked. Companies that develop capabilities in using that data to understand their customers will have a sizable advantage in the future. But doing this comes with its own unique challenges. Games have many permutations, with different game types, devices, user segments, and monetization models. Traditional analytics approaches, which rely on manual processes and interventions by operators viewing dashboards, are insufficient in the face of the sheer volume of complex data generated by games. Unchecked issues lead to costly incidents or missed opportunities that can significantly impact the user experience or the company’s bottom line. That’s why many leading gaming companies are turning to AI and Machine Learning to address these challenges. Gaming Analytics AI Gaming companies have all the data they need to understand who their users are, how they engage with the product, and whether they are likely to churn. The challenge is gaining valuable business insights into the data and taking action before opportunities pass and users leave the game. AI/ML helps bridge this gap by providing real-time, actionable insights on near limitless data streams so companies can design around these analytics and act more quickly to resolve issues. There are two fundamental categories that companies should hone in on to make the best use of their gaming data: The revenue generating opportunities in the gaming industry is one reason it’s a highly competitive market. Keeping gamers engaged requires emphasizing the user experience and continuous delivery of high-quality content personalized to a company’s most valued customers. Customer Engagement and User Experience Graphics and creative storylines are still vital, and performance issues, in particular, can be a killer for user enjoyment and drive churn. But with a market this competitive, it might not be enough to focus strictly on these issues. Games can get an edge on the competition by investing in gaming AI analytics to understand user behaviors, likes, dislikes, seasonality impacts and even hone in on what makes them churn or come back to the game after a break. AI-powered business monitoring solutions deliver value to the customer experience and create actionable insights to drive future business decisions and game designs to acquire new customers and prevent churn. AI-Enhanced Monetization and Targeted Advertising All games need a way to monetize. It’s especially true in today’s market, where users expect games to always be on and regularly deliver new content and features. A complex combination of factors influences how monetization practices and models enhance or detract from a user’s experience with a game. When monetization frustrates users, it’s typically because of aggressive, irrelevant advertising campaigns or models that aren’t well suited to the game itself or its core players. Observe the most successful products in the market, and one thing you will consistently see is highly targeted interactions. Developers can use metrics gleaned from AI analytics combined with performance marketing to appeal to their existing users and acquire new customers. With AI/ML, games can use personalized ads that cater to users’ or user segments’ behavior in real-time, optimizing the gaming experience and improving monetization outcomes. Using AI based solutions, gaming studios can also quickly identify growth opportunities and trends with real-time insight into high performing monetization models and promotions. Mobile Gaming Company Reduces Revenue Losses from Technical Incident One mobile gaming company suffered a massive loss when a bug in a software update disrupted a marketing promotion in progress. The promotion involved automatically pushing special offers and opportunities for in-app purchases across various gaming and marketing channels. When a bug in an update disrupted the promotions process, the analytics team couldn’t take immediate action because they were unaware of the issue. Their monitoring process was ad hoc, relying on the manual review of multiple dashboards, and unfortunately, by the time they discovered the problem, it was too late. The result was a massive loss for the company – a loss of users, a loss of installations, and in the end, more than 15% revenue loss from in-app purchases. The company needed a more efficient and timely way to track its cross-promotional metrics, installations, and revenue. A machine learning-based approach, like Anodot’s AI-powered gaming analytics, provides notifications in real-time to quickly find and react to any breakdowns in the system and would have prevented the worst of the impacts. Anodot’s AI-Powered Analytics for Gaming The difference between success and failure is how companies respond to the ocean of data generated by their games and their users. Anodot’s AI-powered Gaming Analytics solutions can learn expected behavior in the complex gaming universe across all permutations of gaming, including devices, levels, user segments, pricing, and ads. Anodot’s Gaming AI platform is specifically designed to monitor millions of gaming metrics and help ensure a seamless gaming experience. Anodot monitors every critical metric and establishes a baseline of standard behavior patterns to quickly alert teams to anomalies that might represent issues or opportunities. Analytics teams see how new features impact user behavior, with clear, contextual alerts for spikes, drops, purchases, and app store reviews without the need to comb over dashboards trying to find helpful information. The online gaming space represents one of the more recent areas where rapid data collection and analysis can provide a competitive differentiation. Studios using AI powered analytics will keep themselves and their players ahead of the game.

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Understanding Big Data and Artificial Intelligence

Article | June 18, 2021

Data is an important asset. Data leads to innovation and organizations tend to compete for leading these innovations on a global scale. Today, every business requires data and insights to stay relevant in the market. Big Data has a huge impact on the way organizations conduct their businesses. Big Data is used in different enterprises like travel, healthcare, manufacturing, governments, and more. If they need to determine their audience, understand what clients want, forecast the needs of the customers and the clients, AI and big data analysis is vital to every decision-making scenario. When companies process the collected data accurately, they get the desired results, which leads them to their desired goals. The term Big Data has been around since the 1990s. By the time we could fully comprehend it, Big Data had already amassed a huge amount of stored data. If this data is analyzed properly, it would reveal valuable industry insights into the industry to which the data belonged. IT professionals and computer scientists realized that going through all of the data and analyzing it for the purpose was too big of a task for humans to undertake. When artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm came into the picture, it accomplished analyzing the accumulated data and deriving insights. The use of AI in Big Data is fundamental to get desired results for organizations. According to Northeastern University, the amount of data in the world was 4.4 zettabytes in 2013. By of 2020, the data rose to 44 zettabytes. When there is this amount of data produced globally, this information is invaluable to the enterprises and now can leverage AI algorithms to process it. Because of this, the companies can understand and influence customer behavior. By 2018, over 50% of countries had adopted Big Data. Let us understand what Big Data, convergence of big data and AI, and impact of AI on big data analytics. Understanding Big Data In simple words, Big Data is a term that comprises every tool and process that helps people use and manage vast sets of data. According to Gartner, Big Data is a “high-volume and/or high-variety information assets that demand cost-effective, innovative forms of information processing to enable enhanced insight, decision-making, and process automation.” The concept of Big Data was created to capture trends, preferences, and user behavior in one place called the data lake. Big Data in enterprises can help them analyze and configure their customers’ motivations and come up with new ideas for the creation of new offerings. Big Data studies different methods of extracting, analyzing, or dealing with data sets that are too complicated for traditional data processing systems. To analyze a large amount of data requires a system designed to stretch its extraction and analysis capability. Data is everywhere. This stockpile of data can give us insights and business analytics to the industry belonging to the data set. Therefore, the AI algorithms are written to benefit from large and complex data. Importance of Big Data Data is an integral part of understanding customer demographics and their motivations. When customers interact with technology in active or passive manner, these actions create a new set of data. What contributes to this data creation is what they carry with them every day - their smartphones. Their cameras, credit cards, purchased products all contribute to their growing data profile. A correctly done analysis can tell a lot about their behavior patterns, personality, and events in the customer’s life. Companies can use this information to rethink their strategies, improve on their product, and create targeted marketing campaigns, which would ultimately lead them to their target customer. Industry experts, for years and years, have discussed Big Data and its impact on businesses. Only in recent years, however, has it become possible to calculate that impact. Algorithms and software can now analyze large datasets quickly and efficiently.The forty-four zettabyte of data will only quadruple in the coming years. This collection and analysis of the data will help companies get the AI insights that will aid them in generating profits and be future-ready. Organizations have been using Big Data for a long time. Here’s how those organizations are using Big Data to drive success: Answering customer questions Using big data and analytics, companies can learn the following things: • What do customers want? • Where are they missing out on? • Who are their best and loyal customers? • Why people choose different products? Every day, as organizations gather more information, they can get more insights into sales and marketing. Once they get this data, they can optimize their campaigns to suit the customer’s needs. Learning from their online habits and with correct analysis, companies can send personalized promotional emails. These emails may prompt this target audience to convert into full-time customers. Making confident decisions As companies grow, they all need to make complex decisions. With in-depth analysis of marketplace knowledge, industry, and customers, Big Data can help you make confident choices. Big Data gives you a complete overview of everything you need to know. With the help of this, you can launch your marketing campaign or launch a new product in the market, or make a focused decision to generate the highest ROI. Once you add machine learning and AI to the mix, your Big Data collections can form a neural network to help your AI suggest useful company changes. Optimizing and Understanding Business Processes Cloud computing and machine learning help you to stay ahead by identifying opportunities in your company’s practices. Big Data analytics can tell you if your email strategy is working even when your social media marketing isn’t gaining you any following. You can also check which parts of your company culture have the right impact and result in the desired turnover. The existing evidence can help you make quick decisions and ensure you spend more of your budget on things that help your business grow. Convergence of Big Data and AI Big Data and Artificial Intelligence have a synergistic relationship. Data powers AI. The constantly evolving data sets or Big Data makes it possible for machine learning applications to learn and acquire new skills. This is what they were built to do. Big Data’s role in AI is supplying algorithms with all the essential information for developing and improving features, pattern recognition capabilities. AI and machine learning use data that has been cleansed of duplicate and unnecessary data. This clean and high-quality big data is then utilized to create and train intelligent AI algorithms, neural networks, and predictive models. AI applications rarely stop working and learning. Once the “initial training” is done (initial training is preparing already collected data), they adjust their work as and when the data changes. This makes it necessary for data to be constantly collected. When it comes to businesses using this technology, AI helps them use Big Data for analytics by making advanced tools accessible and obtainable to help users gain insights that would otherwise have been hidden in the huge amount of data. Once firms and businesses gain a hold on using AI and Big Data, they can provide decision-makers with a clear understanding of factors that affect their businesses. Impact of AI on Big Data Analytics AI supports users in the Big Data cycle, including aggregation, storage, and retrieval of diverse data types from different data sources. This includes data management, context management, decision management, action management, and risk management. Big Data can help alert problems and help find new solutions and get ideas about any new prospects. With the amount of information stream that comes in, it can be difficult to determine what is important and what isn’t. This is where AI and machine learning come in. It can help identify unusual patterns in the processes, help in the analysis, and suggest further steps to be taken. It can also learn how users interact with analytics and learn subtle differences in meanings or context-specific nuances to understand numeric data sources. AI can also caution users about anomalies, unforeseen data patterns, monitoring events, and threats from system logs or social networking data. Application of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence After establishing how AI and Big Data work together, let us look at how some applications are benefitting from their synergy: Banking and financial sectors The banking and financial sectors apply these to monitor financial marketing activities. These institutions also use AI to keep an eye on any illegal trading activities. Trading data analytics are obtained for high-frequency trading, and decision making based on trading, risk analysis, and predictive analysis. It is also used for fraud warning and detection, archival and analysis of audit trails, reporting enterprise credit, customer data transformation, etc. Healthcare AI has simplified health data prescriptions and health analysis, thus benefitting healthcare providers from the large data pool. Hospitals are using millions of collected data that allow doctors to use evidence-based medicine. Chronic diseases can be tracked faster by AI. Manufacturing and supply chain AI and Big Data in manufacturing, production management, supply chain management and analysis, and customer satisfaction techniques are flawless. The quality of products is thus much better with higher energy efficiency, reliable increase in levels, and profit increase. Governments Governments worldwide use AI applications like facial recognition, vehicle recognition for traffic management, population demographics, financial classifications, energy explorations, environmental conservation, criminal investigations, and more. Other sectors that use AI are mainly retail, entertainment, education, and more. Conclusion According to Gartner’s predictions, artificial intelligence will replace one in five workers by 2022. Firms and businesses can no longer afford to avoid using artificial intelligence and Big Data in their day-to-day. Investments in AI and Big Data analysis will be beneficial for everyone. Data sets will increase in the future, and with it, its application and investment will grow over time. Human relevance will continue to decrease as time goes by. AI enables machine learning to be the future of the development of business technologies. It will automate data analysis and find new insights that were previously impossible to imagine by processing data manually. With machine learning, AI, and Big Data, we can redraw the way we approach everything else. Frequently Asked Questions Why does big data affect artificial intelligence? Big Data and AI customize business processes and make better-suited decisions for individual needs and expectations. This improves its efficiency of processes and decisions. Data has the potential to give insights into a variety of predicted behaviors and incidents. Is AI or big data better? AI becomes better as it is fed more and more information. This information is gathered from Big Data which helps companies understand their customers better. On the other hand, Big Data is useless if there is no AI to analyze it. Humans are not capable of analyzing the data on a large scale. Is AI used in big data? When the gathered Big Data is to be analyzed, AI steps in to do the job. Big Data makes use of AI. What is the future of AI in big data? AI’s ability to work so well with data analytics is the primary reason why AI and Big Data now seem inseparable. AI machine learning and deep learning are learning from every data input and using those inputs to generate new rules for future business analytics. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "Why does big data affect artificial intelligence?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Big Data and AI customize business processes and make better-suited decisions for individual needs and expectations. This improves its efficiency of processes and decisions. Data has the potential to give insights into a variety of predicted behaviors and incidents." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "Is AI or big data better?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "AI becomes better as it is fed more and more information. This information is gathered from Big Data which helps companies understand their customers better. On the other hand, Big Data is useless if there is no AI to analyze it. Humans are not capable of analyzing the data on a large scale." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "Is AI used in big data?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "When the gathered Big Data is to be analyzed, AI steps in to do the job. Big Data makes use of AI." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What is the future of AI in big data?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "AI’s ability to work so well with data analytics is the primary reason why AI and Big Data now seem inseparable. AI machine learning and deep learning are learning from every data input and using those inputs to generate new rules for future business analytics." } }] }

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3 analytics misconceptions holding your business back (and how to overcome them)

Article | August 25, 2021

It’s game on for digital transformation. Success in this hyper-digital world requires meeting market demand and exceeding customer expectations. And without the use of advanced analytics and AI initiatives to deliver predictive, guided insights, organizations will fall behind. According to IDC, a whopping 83% of CEOs want their organizations to be more data-driven, and the top priority for 87% of CXOs is being an intelligent enterprise. Yet that urgency is often stymied by perceived—but often inaccurate—obstacles.

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Choosing External Data Sources: 4 Characteristics to Look For

Article | May 12, 2021

Decision-makers at consumer brands are finally realizing the full transformative potential of external data - but they’re also realizing how difficult it is to source. Forrester reports that 87% of decision-makers in data and analytics have implemented or are planning initiatives to source more external data. And those initiatives are growing outside of the IT team; 29% of those surveyed say that IT has primary ownership of data sourcing, down from 37% in 2016. To support these projects, organizations are increasingly turning to a new specialist: the data hunter, who identifies and vets external data sources. It’s a lot of work to build external data-focused teams, and many leaders are realizing that external data is difficult to scale as the source list grows. Perhaps that’s why 66% of those decision-makers surveyed by Forrester report that they’re using or planning to use external service providers for data, analytics, and insights.

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Spotlight

LearnQuest

For twenty years, LearnQuest has been the leading provider of global IT and Business Skills training for corporations and government agencies. An award winner for Innovation in Learning Effectiveness, LearnQuest offers classroom, virtual, and self-paced training in a wide variety of formats to match today’s learner needs. LearnQuest designs, develops and delivers training on hundreds of IT topics such as Cloud, Analytics, Big Data, Mobile, Security and Business Skills areas, including Project Management, Business Analysis and Leadership.

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