Shopycat. A feature for scanning the social media preferences of a customer’s Facebook friends and suggesting gift ideas sold on Walmart.com’s website. While Walmart has never shied from using analytic technology, it sort of missed the use-the-data digital boat when it came to focusing primarily on the customer experience. It isn’t alone. Difficultly integrating channels is an omni-channel challenge for many businesses with a brick-and-mortar arm. But Walmart is planning to make the shift to a data-driven organization (in fits and starts; selling certain items only online is not a great idea.) Walmart is hoping eighty-seven newly hired “engineers and coders” are going to help turn around the game it’s currently losing playing catch-up with (don’t lose more customers to) customer-centric Amazon.
Let’s automate data prep; let’s ditch the internal chain of command that strangles experimenting with new ways to gather and use new data sources; let’s look at AI technology so resulting information and insight is built into the reporting process. That creative, forward-thinking analysts wish for intelligent tools to benefit a company is a clue they’re not just data jockeys and might be deserving of some attention. Big data tools now exist, or are in development, to answer most of the wishes. One thing is missing. Guess what.
Big data technologies are helping humans identify their own health troubles and find solutions. It makes sense that those with beloved barking companions wish for a similar technology geared to their four-footed buds. Now, your dog can wear a little ninety-nine buck device called Whistle. Whistle monitors your pet’s activity and compares the data to a large pool of other data to help you spot problems before they become serious. Score one for big data. (Warning: seriously adorable puppy alert)
Is Verizon your telecom provider? If yes, did you know that since April 25 and until July 19, under a court order based on the “so-called ‘business records’ provision of the Patriot Act, 50 USC section 1861,” the NSA is collecting lots of personal datafrom your phone usage. Some folks mind the kind and quantity of personal data they are handing over, sometimes without even knowing they are doing it. Others accept that privacy in the big data world is becoming extinct. That’s a good thing, right? Up until it’s a bad thing.
And Now for Something Completely Different
The art of air in motion: a real-time data visualization.