Hungry for data
The magical touch of experienced strategy-oriented data analyst can accelerate the development of the company. Almost all of the leading companies are modelling their business models on data collection and big data. This trend has led to more personalized customer experiences and more effective marketing strategies. How will this shape in the future given the advent of face-recognition technologies? How will all the data be collected, managed and used to make policies? Also, how will the right to privacy balance out as customers increasingly demand a more efficient system of living?
newer more efficient methods
Data collection is a norm today. “Organizations are dealing with a tsunami of data,” says Eric Mizell, vice president of global solution engineering at Kinetica. “The speed, size, shape of data generated by newer sources such as sensors, mobile apps, social media, machine logs, and connected devices far outpaces the ability of current systems and humans to comprehend, draw insights, and act on data. Organizations should look at algorithmic approaches such as machine learning, deep learning, and natural language processing to automate insight discovery at scale.”´Big Data market is predicted to grow in ten times from 7.6 billion in 2011 to 92.2 billion in 2026. What is important is where does the data come from in the future?
Gone are the days when data collection was slow and saved in limited storage. Now, with cloud backups and improved software experiences, the process has become almost seamless. Data is collected both actively and passively with the latter used to understand consumer behaviour. However, privacy concerns have moved the trend of data collection more towards active data mapping with the user agreeing to the data collection.
In many cases though, the users have no choice but to allow companies to record their data. BMW wants to change that. Like other automobile companies, BMW too collects telematics data which, in turn, helps the companies understand how the user uses the cars, offering insight on how to improve them. Also, this information helps insurance companies to understand the circumstances of claims better. While the usual collection is done via apps or plug-in devices, the car owners have grown vary of where the data is used. BMW, in its attempt to cater to such worrisome customers, has introduced CarData which gives customers complete power over personal information. Using the ConnectedDrive equipment preloaded in the cars, the owners can choose what to transmit telematics to the company’s servers and view the information on the website.
Moreover, this model has a unique advantage. Contemporary services are bound to methods and means where data can be collected by already available means. Other user data is either not captured or disallowed by the users. However, this process of data collection as the customers themselves decide the information they want to send; they can even send new data which can further improve service and offer new incentives. Other companies can follow the lead and let customers collect and transmit data to them.
the data collection of the future
A year ago Apple acquired a startup, Emotient, which could read emotions. More recently, they have integrated this technology in their latest iPhone ushering in the era of facial recognition sensors. Many analysts predict that facial sensors will become a norm in retail shops, collecting data on emotions and subsequent consumer behaviour. Hence, the marketers would be able to gauge what products invite certain emotions which have a higher probability of leading to a purchase of the product.
German Supermarket chain Real recently faced countrywide protests when customers became aware that their eye movements were being recorded for product analysis. Germán León, CEO and founder of the Spanish company Gestoos, insists that although the future of data collection is facial scanning, it has to be handled in an ‘anonymized’ fashion. Numerous surveys have revealed that personalized search results are favoured by consumers. According to a survey conducted by RichRelevance, over 71% of customers have fundamentally positive views for similar shopping experiences. This shows that the ability to not only assume emotions but record and track them enables companies to provide dedicated services towards customers. As facial expressions capture all sorts of expressions, face-recognition technology can undoubtedly be used to track lathery during driving, in crowd handling and even in health-related measures.
Chris Rijnders, CEO and co-founder of image processing platform firm Cogisen, finds the uses of the technology in the following: ‘if you have an AC system, it can know that you’re looking at it, and is ready for commands, while in autonomous vehicles, facial detection could be crucial to look out for pedestrians’.
Retail business can benefit from facial recognition in many ways. For example, as Jonathan Rhodes, a retail marketing insight company, brings up the way Westfield shopping Center in Australia monetizes the technology. With facial recognition screens set all over the centre, the company recognizes the age bracket of customers entering the space and change advertisements on the screen to target that particular target group. And this is just the start. Companies can now invest in learning better ways to improve data collection and to shape their campaigns by the new opportunities made available to them due to face-recognition.
The era of Chief Data Officers
According to a 2016 survey conducted by Forrester, Chief Data Officers will ‘gain power, prestige and presence’ as we become increasingly dependent on data collection and data analytics. Gartner insists that in 2 years, 90% of large global companies will have appointed a CDO. These results reveal how companies all over the world are valuing data collection and are ensuring improved data management capabilities in their firms to make the most of the data stored and collected. The role of the CDO can be expected to expand with the time given the importance of data collection and behavioural trends. Stu Gardos, CDO at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center tracks the evolution of his job saying ‘My role as a CDO has evolved to govern data, curate data, and convince subject matter experts that the data belongs to the business and not [individual] departments’. Hence the role of the CDO is increasingly becoming a mesh of business and technology departments and will lead to more influential roles in the world at large starts using data as a trusted currency.
Data collection helps check behavioral trends, something most of the largest companies in the world have based their business models on. Data is becoming increasingly important for business decisions and those who collect it have now started using it as a currency. Companies need to prepare for the future by training and hiring personnel who can handle data efficiently. Similarly, balancing privacy rights and personalized services, the company need to find new ways to collect data and use it to improve themselves and the industry at large.