Going from Data to Information

Authored by: David del Ser
November 14, 2017 - 2 mins read

Source: Flickr


Source: Flickr



With a single smartphone, small business owners can go from completely opaque information to being inundated with raw business data. Not bad for a $50–100 investment in technology! However, the raw data alone doesn’t make a difference — it’s the actionable insights distilled from the data that matter. So how can we turn sensor data into information that shopkeepers can use?


We turn to Artificial Intelligence for this task, which would otherwise be too laborious for a busy micro-entrepreneur like Rosita, our corner shopkeeper. Luckily, data scientists in academia and the private sector have been making great strides in AI applications. Today, she doesn’t need a full team of tech experts, as there are several off-the-shelf options Rosita can use to turn raw data into structured information:



Going from Information to Insights


Most of these technologies require a fast connection to the cloud, which might be too expensive or otherwise unavailable to Rosita. Fortunately, AI practitioners like Mobile Vision, Clarifai’s Mobile SDK, Android Speech, TensorFlow Mobile and OpenCV for Android are porting their platforms directly to mobile phones so they can run offline and in the palm of a user’s hand. These platforms will bring costs down even further, and alleviate privacy concerns.


As we’ve described above, Artificial Intelligence techniques could help Rosita create a substantial amount of structured information about her business with minimal ongoing effort. Although plugging one solution into another is not always seamless, if these solutions work together, Rosita could get a much clearer picture of her operations. With so much detailed information, where should Rosita go for advice and to get up to speed? What insights can be distilled and brought to Rosita’s attention? We’ll discuss the final part of the formula in the following and last blog post about Finbots as personal coaches.

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