Karttakeskus is the largest IT and professional service company whose sole focus is the location intelligence, analytics and GIS in Finland. Karttakeskus focuses on analytics and a new way of thinking. One example of this is the Karttakeskus Sand Box Day. This Sand Box Day was the third in a row and first to be organized with an outside company partner.
The purpose of the day is to give Karttakeskus’s analysts possibility to make experiments, to study something interesting and fun. The main objective of the day is free self-realization. This way Karttakeskus’s analysts will remain on the crest of the technology wave. People come to the day with open attitude and Karttakeskus as an employer is willing to put their employee’s time and resources in the game. Karttakeskus has a firm belief that these types of experiments can lead to new services and products.
GPS location data of a four-month period of one of Finland’s largest logistics services company was used with the customer’s consent. More than 600 million records were downloaded into the data storage in only seven minutes. In the past analysis the same data had to be limited regionally. The tools that had been in use, were not able to handle such a large amount of data at same time. The experiment confirmed the belief that this type of technical choices will help to reach totally new levels in information processing.
Jarmo Suoranta, Senior Consultant and Team Leader of Karttakeskus, suggests a change in thinking “Think Big Data as a paradigm, not a technique. When dealing with large amounts of data, you do not always need to have the questions ready, instead let the data ask the questions. Form new material from large sets of data. You can of course, have some hypotheses. ”
In this experiment, for example, came to sight that customer’s raw data had qualitative differences that had not been seen earlier. And it is possible that the differences would not have ever been found without this test. The errors were such that they did not appear in a common daily analysis. When you can handle such vast amounts of data at the same time, there is an opportunity to address the qualitative properties of the data and make systematic observations.
“When you change the way you think, you do not need to waste time on formulating the questions and basing the data model on them. Projects will spare a huge amount of time from time-consuming data model definition and implementation. You can also avoid the situation that implemented data model does not support the information processing needs of the future. When all the data is in use, the setting of the questions can always be done on the fly. “Jarmo Suoranta says.
Another insight of the day was that, even though all the data can be accessed, it is not necessary to bring it all to the user interface. When you understand the level at which the information sums, the data processing is easier. Big Data is highly variable. For example, location-related data can be structured and numerical, such as GPS data, or completely unstructured, such as text and images. In pictures, however, there is also structured identifiable information like the location data where the photo has been shot. Often, when it comes to large amounts of data, you do not immediately see or know what can be done with it. In analysis and a new discovery, it helps a lot already, that you figure out how the data decreases. Now, the data was summed regionally.
“Top data scientists are born and prosper in companies, which make it possible to do free analysis. Business case can be found along the way. It may sometimes take long time to get the answers to the questions, but already today big things and inventions have been done in the world of data. For example, online retailer recommendations that are familiar to all of us today, are incurred as a result of experimentation. Today the question that is asked from the data is clear, but it was not seen in advance. Flight price optimization, Facebook and LinkedIn networking recommendations ect. are based on similar formulas. However, even these things were not obvious immediately. The accustomed way to ask questions and search for a business case is safe and easy. The new method is innovative and requires dedication.” Jarmo Suoranta stresses.
How did the day succeed?
According to the people of Karttakeskus the experts of Analytics Cloud were very professionally knowledgeable fellows. “Cooperation was great. Our Architect sent afterwards special thanks on how well the day went. The same architect had previously suspected that how on earth it could be possible to take over the entire database in just one day. The result was unexpected. Surprisingly much was established in a short day. We were able to raise a good team spirit and technically the day was very worthwhile. The chances for the use of data were actually brightened. Karttakeskus will able to provide the results to the customer, with clear views on how the data management projects should proceed. With this type of technology it is possible to reach new heights and levels that others have not yet reached.” says Jarmo Suoranta the end.
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