This month marks the 74th anniversary of the start of publication of a series of short stories that was later compiled into Isaac Asimov’s classic Foundation science fiction trilogy. Asimov’s intensely thought-provoking work is premised on what, today, we know as big data. It is set in the future when humans have colonized the entire Milky Way. The galaxy’s large population numbers make it possible to apply advanced mathematical and statistical techniques to predict mankind’s future. Large numbers make predictions more accurate. Asimov’s insight was that, even though human behavior on an individual level is subject to our idiosyncratic natures, on a group level, it is less so. We know for example that, typically, it is just 10 to 12 percent of the U.S. electorate, the truly independent, who decide presidential elections. Today his vision is becoming reality. Alternet Systems, Inc. (OTC: ALYI) is bringing the power of predictive analytics to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with its recently launched Data Analytics Division.
Fortune telling is now within our purview. Back in 2008, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) acquired Farecast and incorporated into its search engine Bing as a ‘prediction tool that informed travelers of the likelihood that airfare prices would rise or decline’, according to a GeekWire story (http://dtn.fm/2XKpS). An Economist special report, titled ‘Data, data everywhere’ (http://dtn.fm/n9HBn), tells how potential customers of Oakland, California, prostitutes were able to ascertain from published records of arrests when police were likely to sweep the streets of the city. The Economist report goes on to relate that:
‘In 2004 Wal-Mart peered into its mammoth databases and noticed that before a hurricane struck, there was a run on flashlights and batteries, as might be expected; but also on Pop-Tarts, a sugary American breakfast snack. On reflection it is clear that the snack would be a handy thing to eat in a blackout, but the retailer would not have thought to stock up on it before a storm.’ Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT), with its galactic store of information, is able to exploit the potential of big data. Its 2015 Annual Report discloses that, each week, the company serves ‘close to 260 million customers’ in 27 countries. It has some 2.2 million employees, a number that surpasses the population of about 50 countries.
Predictive analytics has also found a place in medicine. In ‘Achieving Small Miracles from Big Data’ (http://dtn.fm/9FBjc), the story of Project Artemis is told. Working in collaboration with IBM, Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children employs the methods of big data in its neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Here, premature babies, weaker than their more developed brethren, are tethered to a battery of medical devices that record heart rate, respiration and other vitals. This data is analyzed by algorithms that predict, in real time, the chances of one or more life-threatening conditions developing. Using machines in this way solves two challenges faced by a human analyst. First, the amount of data generated is overwhelming. The system produces 1,256 readings every second. No human analyst could cope. Second, a human analyst would never be able to devote all of his attention all of the day to one patient in the way this system can. The day of the machines has arrived.
Alternet Systems launched its Data Analytics Division in January 2016. The company provides innovative solutions, particularly to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which facilitate and expedite commerce by enhancing customer experience and improving efficiency. Data analytics is just one of three high-growth markets in which the company plans to invest. The two others are financial technology and payment technology. The company currently generates its revenues from providing consulting services, primarily consisting of management of existing data analytics projects in Colombia and Peru.
For more information, visit www.alternetsystems.com
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