Machine learning should make tech work for us not the other way around

| August 28, 2019

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Paperless offices. Robots to do the heavy lifting. Databases full of information that will make life easier, more pleasant, healthier, and longer. These were the promises made (or at least implied) when society went down the road of all-out digital tech.But the innovations digital technology has wrought have somehow made our jobs, our social relationships, and even our lives, in some respects harder, not easier certainly more hectic. For many of us, it feels as if the algorithms are in control.For example, instant, free, IP-based communication with customers on the other side of the world has been a great boon for many companies but the employees who find themselves having to conduct business at all hours of the night (to match the customers time zone) might have their misgivings.

Spotlight

SparklineData Inc.

Imagine how much your data scientists and business analysts could do if every query on your Big Data came back in a second. With Sparkline Data on Hadoop or S3 you can now get think-speed responses for your queries. A modern, Spark native platform, Sparkline Data provides an enterprise OLAP like functionality on Spark without the need to create and populate manual cubes. Sparkling Data is in production with multi-billion row and terabyte scale datasets across Adtech, Media and ERP data lakes.

OTHER ARTICLES

IS YOUR ORGANISATION DATA SCIENCE READY

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With the increasing amount of data in modern businesses, data science has been receiving a lot of attention. A growing number of companies are, nowadays investing in data science researchers and experts to implement technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning in their organisation in order to derive actionable insights. But, to place such a massive transformation in an organisation, one has to ensure complete business readiness for data science. Although it is interesting to imagine the potential benefits data science can provide for your organisation, it is worth evaluating how much your organisation is prepared to accommodate a team of data scientists.

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COMBATING COVID-19 WITH THE HELP OF AI, ANALYTICS AND AUTOMATION

Article | April 9, 2020

Across the world, governments and health authorities are now exploring distinct ways to contain the spread of Covid-19 as the virus has already dispersed across 196 countries in a short time. According to a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at George Washington University and SAS analytics manager for infectious diseases epidemiology and biostatistics, data, analytics, AI and other technology can play a significant role in helping identify, understand and assist in predicting disease spread and progression.In its response to the virus, China, where the first case of coronavirus reported in late December 2019, started utilizing its sturdy tech sector. The country has specifically deployed AI, data science, and automation technology to track, monitor and defeat the pandemic. Also, tech players in China, such as Alibaba, Baidu, Huawei, among others expedited their company’s healthcare initiatives in their contribution to combat Covid-19.

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Taking a qualitative approach to a data-driven market

Article | February 18, 2021

While digital transformation is proving to have many benefits for businesses, what is perhaps the most significant, is the vast amount of data there is available. And now, with an increasing number of businesses turning their focus to online, there is even more to be collected on competitors and markets than ever before. Having all this information to hand may seem like any business owner’s dream, as they can now make insightful and informed commercial decisions based on what others are doing, what customers want and where markets are heading. But according to Nate Burke, CEO of Diginius, a propriety software and solutions provider for ecommerce businesses, data should not be all a company relies upon when making important decisions. Instead, there is a line to be drawn on where data is required and where human expertise and judgement can provide greater value. Undeniably, the power of data is unmatched. With an abundance of data collection opportunities available online, and with an increasing number of businesses taking them, the potential and value of such information is richer than ever before. And businesses are benefiting. Particularly where data concerns customer behaviour and market patterns. For instance, over the recent Christmas period, data was clearly suggesting a preference for ecommerce, with marketplaces such as Amazon leading the way due to greater convenience and price advantages. Businesses that recognised and understood the trend could better prepare for the digital shopping season, placing greater emphasis on their online marketing tactics to encourage purchases and allocating resources to ensure product availability and on-time delivery. While on the other hand, businesses who ignored, or simply did not utilise the information available to them, would have been left with overstocked shops and now, out of season items that would have to be heavily discounted or worse, disposed of. Similarly, search and sales data can be used to understand changing consumer needs, and consequently, what items businesses should be ordering, manufacturing, marketing and selling for the best returns. For instance, understandably, in 2020, DIY was at its peak, with increases in searches for “DIY facemasks”, “DIY decking” and “DIY garden ideas”. For those who had recognised the trend early on, they had the chance to shift their offerings and marketing in accordance, in turn really reaping the rewards. So, paying attention to data certainly does pay off. And thanks to smarter and more sophisticated ways of collecting data online, such as cookies, and through AI and machine learning technologies, the value and use of such information is only likely to increase. The future, therefore, looks bright. But even with all this potential at our fingertips, there are a number of issues businesses may face if their approach relies entirely on a data and insight-driven approach. Just like disregarding its power and potential can be damaging, so can using it as the sole basis upon which important decisions are based. Human error While the value of data for understanding the market and consumer patterns is undeniable, its value is only as rich as the quality of data being inputted. So, if businesses are collecting and analysing their data on their own activity, and then using this to draw meaningful insight, there should be strong focus on the data gathering phase, with attention given to what needs to be collected, why it should be collected, how it will be collected, and whether in fact this is an accurate representation of what it is you are trying to monitor or measure. Human error can become an issue when this is done by individuals or teams who do not completely understand the numbers and patterns they are seeing. There is also an obstacle presented when there are various channels and platforms which are generating leads or sales for the business. In this case, any omission can skew results and provide an inaccurate picture. So, when used in decision making, there is the possibility of ineffective and unsuccessful changes. But while data gathering becomes more and more autonomous, the possibility of human error is lessened. Although, this may add fuel to the next issue. Drawing a line The benefits of data and insights are clear, particularly as the tasks of collection and analysis become less of a burden for businesses and their people thanks to automation and AI advancements. But due to how effortless data collection and analysis is becoming, we can only expect more businesses to be doing it, meaning its ability to offer each individual company something unique is also being lessened. So, businesses need to look elsewhere for their edge. And interestingly, this is where a line should be drawn and human judgement should be used in order to set them apart from the competition and differentiate from what everyone else is doing. It makes perfect sense when you think about it. Your business is unique for a number of reasons, but mainly because of the brand, its values, reputation and perceptions of the services you are upheld by. And it’s usually these aspects that encourage consumers to choose your business rather than a competitor. But often, these intangible aspects are much more difficult to measure and monitor through data collection and analysis, especially in the autonomous, number-driven format that many platforms utilise. Here then, there is a great case for businesses to use their own judgements, expertise and experiences to determine what works well and what does not. For instance, you can begin to determine consumer perceptions towards a change in your product or services, which quantitative data may not be able to pick up until much later when sales figures begin to rise or fall. And while the data will eventually pick it up, it might not necessarily be able to help you decide on what an appropriate alternative solution may be, should the latter occur. Human judgement, however, can listen to and understand qualitative feedback and consumer sentiments which can often provide much more meaningful insights for businesses to base their decisions on. So, when it comes to competitor analysis, using insights generated from figure-based data sets and performance metrics is key to ensuring you are doing the same as the competition. But if you are looking to get ahead, you may want to consider taking a human approach too.

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Data Analytics the Force Behind the IoT Evolution

Article | April 3, 2020

Primarily,the IoT stack is going beyond merely ingesting data to data analytics and management, with a focus on real-time analysis and autonomous AI capacities. Enterprises are finding more advanced ways to apply IoT for better and more profitable outcomes. IoT platforms have evolved to use standard open-source protocols and components. Now enterprises are primarily focusing on resolving business problems such as predictive maintenance or usage of smart devices to streamline business operations.Platforms focus on similar things, but early attempts at the creation of highly discrete solutions around specific use cases in place of broad platforms, have been successful. That means more vendors offer more choices for customers, to broaden the chances for success. Clearly, IoT platforms actually sit at the heart of value creation in the IoT.

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Spotlight

SparklineData Inc.

Imagine how much your data scientists and business analysts could do if every query on your Big Data came back in a second. With Sparkline Data on Hadoop or S3 you can now get think-speed responses for your queries. A modern, Spark native platform, Sparkline Data provides an enterprise OLAP like functionality on Spark without the need to create and populate manual cubes. Sparkling Data is in production with multi-billion row and terabyte scale datasets across Adtech, Media and ERP data lakes.

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