“Leave no stone unturned to help your clients realize maximum profits from their investment.” – Arthur C. Nielsen, Sr.
If “data is the new gold,” as the modern saying goes, then big data scientists are the new gold miners and they depend on a new generation of software tools to prospect, unearth and refine valuable nuggets of actionable intelligence.
Data analysis has been part of the retail industry for nearly a century. As early as 1923, Arthur C. Nielsen, Sr. created a company solely dedicated to marketing research and buying behavior. Now known as ACNielsen, it was one of the first forms of consumer analytics.
It wasn’t until the 1970s, however, that the first retail data ‘gold rush’ truly began. Similar to the advent of hydraulic mining in the 1850s California gold rush, the adoption of barcodes in retail lead to new levels of information collection and require a new type of miner to extract value.
Card-based loyalty programs emerged in the 1990s, and now consumer info firms like Catalina maintain multi-petabyte databases with retail profiles on nearly every adult in America.
Then came RFID, emerging in the 2000s and reaching its original, hands-free, automated promise only now, providing unprecedented levels of real-time information to retailers. Simultaneously, with the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), data now streams in from sensors, surveillance cameras and all manner of ‘smart objects’ in the retail environment. Flooded with masses of ‘big data,’ retailers faced a new challenge.
Retail data is now increasing exponentially in volume, variety and velocity each year, bringing with it extraordinary value through customer experience, merchandising, marketing and supply chain logistics. IBM found that 62% of retailers report that the use of information (including big data) and analytics is creating a competitive advantage for their organizations. While a McKinsey report suggested that retailers using big data analytics could raise their operating margins by as much as 60%.
To find value in this mountain of information, miners need new technology platforms that can collect, store, analyze, understand and act on data streams, in real time, from any kind of sensor including RFID, GPS, smart phones, Bluetooth, ZigBee and Wi-Fi devices.
Leading IoT platform solutions such as Mojix’s ViZix allow data scientists to transform sensor data into rich, interactive maps, images and reports that create actionable intelligence and those golden nuggets of business insight.