This is Microsoft Embracing Predictive Analysis

May 19, 2014

Now here’s a valuable use of predictive analytics. Digital Trends reports, “Microsoft to Use Bing Search Data to Predict Outcomes of Reality Shows.” Microsoft announced the initiative in this Bing blog post. It is good to see such an influential company investing its resources in issues that affect the quality of life for all humanity. Writer Konrad Krawczyk tells us:

“Beginning today [April 21], Bing will attempt to forecast the results of shows like ‘The Voice,’ ‘American Idol’ and ‘Dancing With The Stars,’ by scanning search data, along with ‘social input’ from Facebook and Twitter. For instance, if you head over to Bing right now and search ‘American Idol predictions’ like we did, the top of the page will feature a set forecasts for five singers. We’ll refrain from adding in any potential Bing-generated spoilers here, but you’re free to check out what the search engine thinks for yourself.

“‘In broad strokes, we define popularity as the frequency and sentiment of searches combined with social signals and keywords. Placing these signals into our model, we can predict the outcome of an event with high confidence,’ the Bing Predictions Team says in its blog post.

“Microsoft also says that Bing’s predictions incorporate numerous emotionally-driven factors into how it generates predictions, allegedly accounting for biases like favoritism, regardless of how a person’s favorite singer/contestant performs from one week to the next.”

While this example does sum up the gist of predictive analysis, we can think of several areas to which the technology could be better applied. To be fair, the Bing Predictions Team says reality TV is not the pinnacle of its prediction projects. Will the next initiative be aimed at similarly vacuous forecasts?

Cynthia Murrell, May 19, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

SAS Text Miner Gets An Upgrade

May 5, 2014

SAS is a well-recognized player in IT game as a purveyor of data, security, and analytics software. In modern terms they are a big player in big data and in order to beef up their offerings we caught word that SAS had updated its Text Miner. SAS Text Miner is advertised as a way for users to not only harness information in legacy data, but also in Web sites, databases, and other text sources. The process can be used to discover new ideas and improve decision-making.

SAS Text Miner a variety of benefits that make it different from the standard open source download. Not only do users receive the license and tech support, but Text Miner offers the ability to process and analyze knowledge in minutes, an interactive user interface, and predictive and data mining modeling techniques. The GUI is what will draw in developers:

“Interactive GUIs make it easy to identify relevance, modify algorithms, document assignments and group materials into meaningful aggregations. So you can guide machine-learning results with human insights. Extend text mining efforts beyond basic start-and-stop lists using custom entities and term trend discovery to refine automatically generated rules.”

Being able to modify proprietary software is a deal breaker these days. With multiple options for text mining software, being able to make it unique is what will sell it.

Whitney Grace, May 05, 2014
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Big Data: Can the Latest Trend Deliver?

April 25, 2014

If you track Big Data, you will want to read “Why Big Data Is Stillborn (for Now).” The write up hits the highlights of the flickering hyperbole machine that sells fancy math to the government and organizations desperate for a Silver Bullet.

The article asserts:

Most “big data” has to be moved in physical containers. Most data centers do not have excess capacity to handle petabyte level simultaneous search and pattern discovery.

Believe in real time and high speed access? Consider this statement:

Bandwidth, throughput, and how “real time” is defined all come down to the weak link in the chain and we have many ***very weak*** links across the chain and especially in Washington, D.C. The bottom line is always “who benefits?” The FCC decision to destroy net neutrality is in error. The citizen, not the corporation, is “root” in a Smart Nation.

If you wonder why your Big Data investments have yet to deliver a golden goose pumping out 24 caret eggs everyday, check out this write up. Worth reading.

Stephen E Arnold, April 25, 2014

Small Analytics Firms Reaping the Benefit of Investment Cycle

April 23, 2014

Small time analytics isn’t really as startup-y as people may think anymore. These companies are in high demand and are pulling in some serious cash. We discovered just how much and how serious from a recent Cambridge Science Park article, “Cambridge Text Analytics Linguamatics Hits $10m in Sales.”

According to the story:

Linguamatics’ sales showed strong growth and exceeded ten million dollars in 2013, it was announced today – outperforming the company’s targeted growth and expected sales figures.  The increased sales came from a boost in new customers and increased software licenses to existing customers in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors. This included 130 per cent growth in healthcare sales plus increased sales in professional services.

This earning potential has clearly grabbed the attention of investors. This, is feeding a cycle of growth, which is why the Linguamaticses of the world can rake in impressive numbers. Just the other day, for example, Tech Circle reported on a microscopic Mumbai big data company that landed $3m in investments. They say it takes money to make money and right now, the world of big data analytics has that cycle down pat. It won’t last forever, but it’s fun to watch as it does.

Patrick Roland, April 23, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Small Analytics Firms Reaping the Benefit of Investment Cycle

April 22, 2014

Small time analytics isn’t really as startup-y as people may think anymore. These companies are in high demand and are pulling in some serious cash. We discovered just how much and how serious from a recent Cambridge Science Park article, “Cambridge Text Analytics Linguamatics Hits $10m in Sales.”

According to the story:

Linguamatics’ sales showed strong growth and exceeded ten million dollars in 2013, it was announced today – outperforming the company’s targeted growth and expected sales figures.  The increased sales came from a boost in new customers and increased software licenses to existing customers in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors. This included 130 per cent growth in healthcare sales plus increased sales in professional services.

This earning potential has clearly grabbed the attention of investors. This, is feeding a cycle of growth, which is why the Linguamaticses of the world can rake in impressive numbers. Just the other day, for example, Tech Circle reported on a microscopic Mumbai big data company that landed $3m in investments. They say it takes money to make money and right now, the world of big data analytics has that cycle down pat. It won’t last forever, but it’s fun to watch as it does.

Patrick Roland, April 22, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Imagine the Internet without Search Engines

April 17, 2014

Centrifuge Systems proposes an interesting idea in “Big Data Discovery Without Link Analysis Is Like The Web Without Google.” Centrifuge Systems asks readers of the short article to imagine using the Internet without a search engine. How would we locate information? It would be similar to the librarian’s favorite description of the Internet all the contents of a library spilled on the floor. The article continues to explain that big data without link analysis works the same as the Internet without a search engine.

What is link analysis?

“You can view link analysis as a data discovery technique that reveals the structure and content of information by representing it as a set of interconnected objects. When combined with a visual representation, an investigator can quickly gain an understanding of the strength of relationships and the frequency of contacts and immediately discover new associations. Link analysis offers an intuitive alternative to the traditional relational database formats and BI tools without deep technical expertise.”

It is a convincing analogy. To increase a potential client’s interest, Centrifuge Systems offers a Data Discovery Challenge, where the client is given a free solution. In other terms, it’s a free estimate for services. Big data is full of analytics, but has anyone other than Centrifuge Systems offer rich link analysis?

Whitney Grace, April 17, 2014
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Google Glass and Predictive Analytics

April 13, 2014

I read “I Was Assaulted for Wearing Google Glass.” This is a sad commentary on our times. Will I be assaulted in Harrod’s Creek for driving my Kia Soul and wearing a T shirt that says “ Seavey’s Dog Kennel”? After I read the item, I wondered, “Why can’t Google’s predictive analytics be used to display to a Glass wearer that the assault risk level?” A color coded scheme could be used based on previous Glass users’ encounters, GPS data, and other inputs available to the Google / Recorded Future systems.

I noted this passage:

Why were people laughing at my misfortune or implying I somehow deserved it?

Beats me.

Stephen E Arnold, April 13, 2014

The Enigma App

April 1, 2014

Information can be an enigma, which is probably why the developers named their new app that. Visiting the Enigma Web site opens on a picture of either New York or London with the headline “navigate the world of public data.” It is an intriguing idea that one would think could be accomplished with search engine or academic database. Then again when you think about the process and how time consuming it is, it would be handy to have a search engine that did most of the work for you.

Enigma was built as a solution to this problem. The company says they have:

“Enigma is amassing the largest collection of public data produced by governments, universities, companies, and organizations. Concentrating all of this data provides new insights into economies, companies, places and individuals.”

Enigma’s services do come with a fee, however. They offer public data search and quick analytics for free with sign-up, but if you want API access and online support you need to upgrade to plans that start at $195/month. The data search must be gold, when you consider that many of these records are available for the public. It is worth exploring to see how the service differs from a basic search engine, but it is hard to sign up. The registration page is finicky.

Whitney Grace, April 01, 2014
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Darpa Prods Big Data Experts

March 29, 2014

I read “Darpa Calls for Advanced Big Data Ideas.” If the write up is accurate, Darpa is not on board with the marketing innovations about Big Data, whatever the term means. Darpa wants more. According to the TechRadar story:

According to V3, DARPA director Arati Prabhakar told a briefing on emerging threats with the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Intelligence that it is looking to come up with some advanced big data ideas. She said that DARPA is creating a new set of cyber security capabilities that will ensure that networked information is trustworthy.

Address “big data” may be easier if those talking about it would define the term and the context in which the phrase is being used. Those who chant “Big Data,” including Darpa, are just empowering the sales people, the self appointed experts, and the failed middle school teachers who write “reports” for mid tier consulting firms.

Stephen E Arnold, March 29, 2014

Addiction Model Measures App’s Addictiveness Over Retention

March 28, 2014

The article on re/code.net titled Mixpanel: How Addictive Is Your App? presents a new analytic report called Addiction. Under a picture of a wrist cuffed to the smartphone it holds, the article cheerfully explains that fifty percent of social app users engage with the service for over five hours a day. Enterprise apps are used more during the business day, and messaging apps show a lesser addiction in their users, supporting the idea that people are now using social media apps for most of their communications. The article explains,

“Addiction adds an extra layer of insight that allows companies to analyze user behavior on an even deeper level. One thing that’s clear is that addiction is inextricably linked to function: If your product is a social app that people don’t use more than once a day, that’s a red flag — and not one you would have previously been able to catch if you relied solely on Retention.”

The article stipulates that the most important feature of Addiction is that it enables companies to visualize how “embedded” their service is in user’s daily schedules. This will allow them to better follow the effect of their smallest adjustments in the app and really see how their customers react. Whether or not this is a dangerous ability is not considered.

Chelsea Kerwin, March 28, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

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