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Archive for the ‘Big Data’ Category

 

Pinterest is one of social media’s Big Data darlings

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014 by

To understand the objective of social super-company Pinterest is to first know that its prime real estate for harvesting valuable marketing insights is using Big Data. Why? The answer couldn’t be simpler. Pinterest makes its users talk about what interests them feel fun and rewarding, while providing the website a clear view of how to market to them. It’s an ingenious device that is unlike any other social media outlet today, and is a prime example of how cloud computing can be a far better gauge of what matters to consumers than the most well-planned focus group.

To understand the objective of social super-company Pinterest is to know that it's prime real estate for harvesting valuable marketing insights.

To understand the objective of social super-company Pinterest is to know that its prime real estate for harvesting valuable marketing insights is using Big Data.

How does it work?
Pinterest has given its users the option to begin “pinning” their favorite things within a cloud infrastructure in exchange for better related results within the network. When an account-holder posts something like an image or link to an article on his or her pin board, they received related pins that somehow correspond to items they’ve deemed interesting in the past. According to a blog post from one of the company’s Data Engineers, Mohammad Shahangian, allowing information to be shared within the cloud host will yield better suggestions, leading to more activity on the site – a positive feedback loop for both parties.

The post stated that Big Data “enables [Pinterest] to put the most relevant and recent content in front of users through features such as Related Pins, Guided Search, and image processing,” Shahangian wrote. “It also powers thousands of daily metrics and allows us to put every user-facing change through rigorous experimentation and analysis.”

Over time, more and more users have opted to share their information within the cloud to achieve these results, and Venture Beat contributor Jordan Novet noted increased popularity in the trend since the product’s launch in 2012. The tactics have influenced other social media outlets into integrating ads into their websites’ most important sections.

What can be done with this data?
Though Shahangian’s blog post makes no mention of it, using cloud computing to take stock of users’ interests can be a powerful tool for getting advertisers to work with the company. Unlike the ads present on other major social media sites, Pinterest sells “Promoted Pins,” meaning that your account, picture, or other information is more likely to be shared with users than the average result, and that it will find the right consumer.

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How Big Data is changing organ donations and transplants

Thursday, July 31st, 2014 by

For years, the process of becoming an organ donor has been the same. To be registered, a person needs to attend a drive or go out of the way to get a membership card. To this day, 95 percent of those in the United States who donate sign up on yet another frustrating trip to the DMV, the very place most people try to avoid at all costs. Today, there is still a massive shortage of these volunteers in the U.S., an issue that is being addressed using Big Data and cloud computing to make access for donors and those requiring organs easier.

New technology allows those in need to find organs like others check out library books.

New technology allows those in need to find organs like others check out library books.

Diagnosing the volunteer shortage
Activist groups like ORGANIZE.org have worked to promote more organ donor sign ups in the United States as a result of the current shortage. According to a report from Health Data Consortium, 18 patients die in the country every day waiting for an organ that doesn’t come and nearly 120,000 are currently on the national waiting list. In an interview with ORGANIZE.org, founders Greg Segal and Jenna Arnold explained how cloud hosting could change this shortage and increase the rate at which those who need donations receive them.

“There’s plenty of room to increase donation rates; 90 percent of America supports organ donation, yet only 40 percent have registered, which means there are 150 million Americans who support the cause but still haven’t registered,” they expanded.

Although Big Data can be used to find those who haven’t donated, Segal and Arnold suggested using the technology to hone in on the donors who can really help.

“That sounds like a subtle distinction,” they explained to Health Data Consortium, “but only about 1 percent of deaths medically qualify for donation, so the key innovations will be in registering the right people, not just in registering more people.”

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Unpacking “the Internet of Things”

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 by

If you’ve paged through a business or technology magazine in the past several years, you’ve definitely come across the term “Internet of Things” while looking for news on Big Data. But what does it actually mean? Unpacking the term can be a hefty but necessary task to push the cloud computing concept into the zeitgeist, which many believe will happen in the near future.

Deconstructing an oft-confused term and exposing its true meaning.

Deconstructing an oft-confused term and exposing its true meaning.

What is it?
According to Techopedia, the Internet of Things, or IoT, is “a computing concept that describes a future where everyday physical objects will be connected to the Internet and be able to identify themselves to other devices.”

Still sound like a science fiction movie? The truth is, devices are already being programmed and designed with this eventual goal in mind. As Wi-Fi spreads to become more convenient and working across multiple platforms becomes the norm, society will gradually inch closer to being one with the Internet of Things.

“The term is closely identified with RFID [radio-frequency identification] as the method of communication, although it may include other sensor technologies, wireless technologies, or QR codes,” the definition continued.

Consider how cloud hosting already impacts our everyday lives via information sharing on mobile devices as well as interaction with Big Data through the way we are marketed to, how we receive information every day, and the way we consume our media. Technology is becoming ubiquitous: many public spaces are now equipped with Wi-Fi and even our televisions and houses are “smart” enough to interact via security systems, for example. In many ways, we’re already well on our way to achieving this future that sounds straight out of a Hollywood script.

When will it become a reality?

Not surprisingly, there’s no exact answer for when the Internet of Things will be considered complete and normalized in our global culture. First, continual achievement in technology needs to reach a stage where there’s less room for error, and second, industrialization needs to transform the amount of access remote and undeveloped areas have to Internet-friendly devices.

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What does “any cloud” orchestration mean for telcos?

Monday, July 28th, 2014 by

Last week, GoGrid announced its “any cloud” orchestration engine service, enabling telcos to deliver complex, on-demand solutions, multi-cloud support, and data sovereignty compliance. We received an overwhelmingly positive response to our pioneering technology and unique approach.

Orchestration-engine-service

But don’t just take our word for it. Check out what Light Reading (the premier publication for the telecom industry) had to say in its story, “GoGrid Puts Cloud at a Touch of a Button.” As reported by Carol Wilson, the article underscores the reasons why orchestration is so attractive to telcos:

“The attraction is taking the complexity out of provisioning applications, and while GoGrid is initially focused on big data apps, this approach can support other kinds of applications as well, says Caroline Chappell, senior analyst with Heavy Reading. Telecom cloud service providers have been trying to develop this capability themselves so they can offer business customers the ability to stand up a whole range of applications in the cloud without individually engineering each one through a complex process, she says.

“Telecom cloud providers can make the provisioning process part of the service they offer, even if the application itself is run by an app partner in a third-party cloud, Chappell notes. That creates the ability for telecom cloud providers to offer a cloud-based “business in a box” type offer that doesn’t require complex provisioning of each individual service.”

Orchestration is key for telcos to quickly and easily increase the variety and number of products they offer. It also keeps them focused on what they do best: selling solutions wrapped with value-added services instead of commodity infrastructure. Click here to learn more about GoGrid’s orchestration and 1-Button Deploy™ solutions.

How Big Data Tells a Story

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 by

Associations with Big Data tend to be pretty clinical – it’s often considered a tool to make more accurate scientific statements, identify trends in social media and news, and develop products by gauging customer response. In other words, the cloud computing tool was largely viewed as a shortcut to making money and creating new offerings for the public, whether that was a breakthrough medication, a new way to communicate wirelessly, or something the world had never even heard of. A less common but equally fascinating use of the technology, however, is as a storytelling mechanism – a capability that can be the most powerful use of all.

As has been the truth in past generations, science and storytelling should coexist in order to remain powerful, a fact that rings true when considering the developing uses of big data.

As in previous generations, science and storytelling need to coexist to remain powerful, a fact that rings true when considering the developing uses of Big Data.

The value of storytelling
The concept of storytelling and the value of its teller is a tradition ingrained in basic human culture that has existed for thousands of years. In generations past, before the written word and widespread publishing of books and magazines, storytellers would enthrall listeners with memorized speeches in the manner of Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” and Homer’s “Odyssey.” A recent piece on the Fast CoCreate blog detailed some of the finer points of this tradition.

“Results repeatedly show that our attitudes, fears, hopes, and values are strongly influenced by story,” the source stated. “In fact, fiction seems to be more effective at changing beliefs than writing that is specifically designed to persuade through argument and evidence.”

These statements have plenty of evidence to back them up – stories sell. The movie and publishing industry bring in billions every year, and even our most prevalent social media tools, especially Facebook, are designed to tell the “story” of a user’s life online by highlighting what events and posts have received the most attention. This is just one example of mass data being boiled down to a basic storyline, but it’s a valuable one. Even Snapchat, the ever-present application that is famous for showing a user an image for a few seconds that disappears shortly thereafter, has introduced the “Snapchat Stories” feature that lets users create a narrative from their brief messages.

How Big Data tells a story with accuracy and impact
There’s no doubt that the science behind Big Data is inescapable, but some data scientists have struggled to transform this information into a palatable story for the everyday user to consume. Jeff Bladt and Bob Filbin, data scientists for the activist charity-driven website Dosomething.org, wrote about this process, with which they’re still constantly experimenting, in a recent issue of Harvard Business Review.

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