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Blog post
June 25, 2019

From Complex To Context

A World Of Information Without Noise 

Big data is more than just a buzzword. It’s one of the biggest challenges and opportunities facing almost every industry, business and brand today. With the potential value that it holds, investment in big data, machine learning and AI will be crucial for any business that wants to remain relevant through the ages.

Big Data

noun : extremely large data sets that may be analysed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behaviour and interactions.


Each day 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is generated – a number that continues to grow exponentially. While we have seen improvements in the collection of data over recent years, the ability to synthesize meaning from this data is demanding more from engineers and their technology than ever before.


The problem that we face is sorting through these huge chunks of data to separate the noise from what is important to individuals and their organisation. While automation has offered speed, simplicity and efficiency, the ‘why’ is where the untapped value and excitement lies.

“Contextualisation is key. It’s not about just collecting data, it’s about how that data can provide clear information that enables and inspires action”

Richard Spencer, Chief Marketing Officer at Isentia.

Rather than reflecting on past performance, answering the ‘why’ has the potential to lead action that focuses on influencing the tomorrow.
Beyond big data, the ‘why’ behind AI and machine learning may raise new questions. For instance the wider interplay behind machine learnings ability to  translate to a language without any knowledge or assumptions about that language.

As teams start to ask these questions, the data starts to be reimagined. The perception of a data point transforms into breadcrumbs of a narrative that can tell a bigger story, and ultimately influence our thinking.

The question is, when big data becomes manageable and meaningful – how fast will it move into being predictive? And even beyond this, be able to simulate what is ‘likely’ to happen.

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If your New Year’s resolution is to get ahead of the tech curve, you’re in luck.

As artificial intelligence (AI) transitions from novel to normalised in 2018, there are many ways you can integrate advanced technology into your day-to-day life, making you more productive at work and at home. Andrea Walsh, one of Australia’s most successful CIO’s, shares tips on how everyone can use machine learning to squeeze more out of the day.

Decision making

You may not trust a computer to make important decisions for you, but it can help guide your choices. Committed to read more in 2018? Amazon will analyse your previous purchasing behaviour to recommend books you might like. If you’d simply like to reconnect with old friends or spend more time with new ones, Facebook will flag friend suggestions for you. If you’re in the market for a new job this year, let LinkedIn’s algorithms suggest jobs you may be interested in or people you should be networking with. Embrace these tools to help cut through the noise and then use your own insight to make decisions on a narrowed, personalised field.

Be more punctual

If you are perennially late and have vowed to be more punctual in 2018, Google Maps is your new best friend, helping you avoid time-sucking activities like getting lost in parking lots or being caught in heavy traffic. Using data from your smartphone, Google is able to provide you with directions to where you parked your car. On the road, Google will analyse your position together with anonymised data from other smartphones to suggest the fastest route to your destination. If driving full-stop is your peeve, then you will be pleased to hear that California authorities will allow self-driving cars to be tested alongside cars driven by humans on roads this year. Experts predict this could result in a 90% reduction in accidents (which will arouse all sorts of ethical debates as to whether humans will still be able to drive cars), 75% less cars on the road and reduce the work commute by almost half.

Boost creativity

With the rise of machine learning comes the fear of job losses. “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race,” Stephen Hawking told the BBC.

An Oxford University survey suggested that 47 per cent of the world’s jobs could be replaced within decades. Autonomous cars present one example of how jobs in transport and logistics may be replaced by robots. With this uncertainty comes the understanding that routine work is far more likely to be automated than jobs requiring skills like creativity or emotional intelligence. Machines may be adept at processing large volumes of data, but they can’t make insightful or creative decisions. The good news is that as machines become smarter, humans are freed from mundane tasks and can become more creative. If you’re in a small business, using accounting products like Xero to manage your financial reporting. This allows you to turn your attention to business boosters like problem solving, improving customer service or creating new products. If you’re in big business, tools like Amazon Transcribe or Amazon Translate can perform laborious tasks like producing and translating documents with lightning speed and accuracy, allowing you to focus on big picture thinking like strategy and profitability.

Stay on top of current affairs

In my work at Isentia, we use machine learning to process seven million news items each day. Not long ago this was a task relegated to humans with the mind-numbing task of flipping through newspapers in search of stories that might relate to a client. Machines trawl video, audio and digital content across more than 5,500 new sites at a rate of 234 stories per second and present meaningful summaries to clients in real-time. Whether a story breaks on Twitter and then spills across news platforms and onto television and radio, machine learning can track and analyse how a story evolves with 99% accuracy. Use these tools to stay on top of the issues or people relevant to your industry – in real time.

Make your mark in 2018

The robots aren’t ‘coming’, they are well and truly here. Without realising, we interact with ‘smart’ technology at almost every touch point of our daily lives. As a technologist, I am excited by machine learning not only because I see its profit boosting value, but also for how much it can improve our working lives each and every day.

If you learn one thing this year, take the time to discover how AI can help you be a more creative and productive version of you in 2018.

Headquartered in Sydney, Australia, Isentia is a media intelligence company operating since 1982. The company is backed by over 1,200 employees with 18 offices across Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Europe and the US. Isentia provides more than 5,000 clients, including many of the world’s leading brands, companies and governments, with media intelligence software and services that help drive more informed and timely business and communication decisions.

Originally featured on Women Love Tech.

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Blog
Tips For Success: Make A Robot Your Partner In Crime In 2018

As artificial intelligence (AI) transitions from novel to normalised in 2018, there are many ways you can integrate advanced technology into your day-to-day life, making you more productive at work and at home.

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It’s official: artificial intelligence has arrived. But how will this disruptive technology transform businesses in the near future?

After more than a few false starts, artificial intelligence (AI) is finally here, and it’s powerfully disrupting the way business is done. We don’t need to ask if or when businesses will adopt AI – the question is where and how widely it will be employed.

AI is already a big player in the technology industry. In particular, there is a growing use of AI in IT’s backroom functions like cybersecurity and tech support. A Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) survey of 835 company executives found that nearly half of respondents were using AI to detect and fend off intrusions – the most frequent use of the technology. But a number of other industries are also opting for AI.

Early adopters

In entertainment, companies like Netflix and Amazon are using machine learning to help their movie recommendation engines. Health care has seen myriad applications, including virtual assistants for doctorsapps that can interpret test results and even AI-based spine surgery technology. In the financial sector, AI has been put to work in regulatory compliance and fraud prevention – PayPal uses a combination of its own AI program and human analysts to combat fraud, for example, and HSBC has teamed up with Silicon Valley startup Ayasdi to automate anti-money-laundering investigations.

Worldwide spending on cognitive and AI systems is expected to reach $12.5 billion this year, according to IDC, a whopping increase of 59.3 percent over 2016. Much of this growth is powered by use cases like the examples above. But there’s another area where AI is rapidly being adopted: automated customer service agents, or chatbots as they’re more commonly known.

Customers now expect AI to be used by companies and they are comfortable interacting with the technology (up to a point). Research from HubSpot found that nearly half of people are happy with the idea of buying products from a chatbot. Perhaps more importantly, 40 percent of respondents said they were indifferent about receiving customer support from either a chatbot or human – provided they got the help they needed fast and easily.

Dealing with data

Whether patrolling a computer network for intrusions or trawling through financials for signs of fraud, AI is most often employed to intelligently handle vast amounts of data quickly. “AI is best deployed in companies with significant amounts of data and robust data systems,” says Andrea Walsh, Isentia’s CIO.

Gartner predicts that, in 2018, half a billion users will save two hours a day as a result of AI-powered tools. Every time a business gains efficiencies, it saves money – and that is AI’s chief benefit.

AI’s smarter processing power is also helping companies generate more quality leads on new customers, using IBM’s Watson AI, for example. Finding, contacting and closing new sales is a time and resource-heavy activity. But AI-based sales assistants can tirelessly work on reaching out to people, while intelligently analyzing data on leads. This can then be effectively communicated with point-of-sale staff.

When employees hear the word “efficiency,” they often assume it will lead to lay-offs. While there is no question that some jobs will be replaced by AI programs, the naysayers are largely exaggerating their mass-redundancy predictions.

AI is a data-cruncher, and it is often employed to take care of something that didn’t even exist 30 years ago: big data. When it accomplishes its analysis, a human is still needed to interpret the results, such as in cybersecurity and anti-fraud scenarios. Even in the case of customer service chatbots, these will mostly be applied to routine queries and simple support functions, augmented by human representatives for complex problems. “AI should not stand alone as a technology,” say Walsh.

Enhancing existing infrastructure

As with all industrial revolutions, AI will create jobs even as it replaces them. There are already glaring shortfalls in STEM-trained employees across the world, and that’s likely to continue as the rapid pace of technological transformation outruns educational reforms. But eventually, new generations will be trained and educated to do jobs created by innovative technologies like AI.

Any business can benefit from AI programs, but when it comes to how broadly they adopt AI, companies need to look at how the technology can augment their existing capabilities. Instead of replacing staff, current AI should be used to support them and put their invaluable human minds to the best use, saving tedious, data-crunching work for the machines. For customers, AI needs to be a helpful, timesaving addition to their experience, and companies should never try to create the false impression that a human is doing the work. People are ready for AI; companies need to be too.

Andrea Walsh, Isentia's Chief Information Officer

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Blog
Transformative tech: What to expect from AI in 2018

It’s official: artificial intelligence has arrived. But how will this disruptive technology transform businesses in the near future?

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Credit keeps the world economy moving, with Visa, MasterCard and American Express brand names easily identifiable. As time passes by, we can see a definitive shift taking place, with each of these brands increasingly becoming part of conversations taking place around the world.

This Global Report, powered by Isentia and Pulsar's data, analyses international trends and zeroes in how credit card incentives are discussed in Singapore.

Fill up the form below to download the whitepaper and read more.

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Whitepaper
[Pulsar Report] Transactions & Reactions: The Online Credit Card Conversation

Credit keeps the world economy moving, with Visa, MasterCard and American Express brand names easily identifiable. This Global report sheds light on international trends and zeroing in on how credit card incentives are discussed in Singapore.

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The social trends and audience behind healthy drinking behaviour

While the pandemic and lockdowns made some people more likely to grab an alcoholic drink, audience interest in low alcohol or no alcohol drinks keeps growing online, both globally and in Australia. 

But what events are driving Australians towards the #sobercurious lifestyle? And which brands are piquing their interest?

[embed width="900" height="450"]https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/8866524[/embed]

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According to data from our sister company Pulsar, social conversation and search interest in low-no-alcohol peaked in April '21-Oct '21 as the press announced a $1 million government grant (as part of the Australian Government’s Modern Manufacturing Strategy) was awarded to Modus Operandi Brewery to manufacture a non-alcoholic ale, NORT. The mentions of low/no-alcohol experienced a peak in June, leading to Dry July and Sober October.

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Mention metrics show that health and socialising are major motivational drivers for Australians when choosing a drink of the low/no-alcohol variety. The two are closely related, as prominent tags associated with low/no-alcohol mentions are #mindfuldrinking, #soberissexy, and #soberdating.

[embed width="900" height="450"]https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/8949469[/embed]

Meanwhile, popular millennial and gen z media outlets like Fashion Journal and Refinery29 are reporting on how-tos and the benefits of sober dating. Young Australians are reading that by avoiding the booze, their anxiety is reduced, and they are setting themselves up for relationship success.

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Mental health improvements associated with the trend aren’t the only benefits being publicised; the physical gains are too. Australian media personality Erin Holland told Women’s Health Magazine that her preparation for the popular reality series SAS Australia involved a strict no-alcohol rule. Rugby union Wallaby player Radiko Samo credited a no-alcohol stance to his improved performance on the field.

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The data also suggests Australians genuinely enjoy the taste of low/no-alcohol beverages followed by ethical reasons. For centuries, abstinence from alcoholic drinking has been tied to ethical beliefs, but open discussion and acknowledgment of Australia’s amoral history keep this motivator current. Aboriginal-owned and led non-alcoholic craft brewers SOBAH advocate for this and aim to break toxic Indigenous stereotypes by providing “healing opportunities outside the reliance on government funding and control."

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Globally, drinks like beer, vodka, and whiskey tend to be more popular, but Australian consumers are hitting the spirits and mixers. Non-alcoholic cocktail bars were springing up across Australian metropolitan areas like Brunswick Aces in Melbourne, giving non-drinkers a chance to socialise without feeling left out. From hotels to online delivery services, hospitality businesses connect with Aussies’ healthier lifestyle choices. In particular, small-batch distilleries and breweries utilising bush tucker flavours are getting covered in widely read hospitality and entertainment sites like Broadsheet. 

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Australian-made distilleries are also proud to represent the small-batch, independent ethos which aligns with the Aussie tendency to support one-of-kind artisanal producers over big-name brands.

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British and Australian brands Seedlip and Lyre’s appear as the most mentioned across media platforms between July-November 21. In the news, Aussie founded Lyres had taken out best non-alcoholic spirit for their Italian spritz at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Seedlip took out two non-alcoholic spirit awards in the Australian Drinks Awards held in November 2021.

While we might expect fitness enthusiasts to be discussing the benefits of lowering alcohol consumption online, a deep dive into the different audiences talking about low alcohol brands reveals this is a popular conversation amongst more niche subcultures.

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Across twitter, discussions of non-alcohol spirits are popular amongst Australian bookworms. Popular non-alcoholic brands like Lyres and Seadrift use old-fashioned or themed storytelling as part of their branding language—an aesthetic that lets  literary lovers know they ”can enjoy the mirth and merriment of a soiree or shindig” without alcohol. This group is also keen to share with their community the book they are currently reading and a matching mocktail.

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This trend continues to grow as Aussies aspire for optimal performance at work, in their social and romantic lives, and for their overall wellness. The data shows Aussies celebrating and sharing their alcohol-free experiences with their digital communities, and with the backing from the government and smaller brands taking out big awards, this trend continues to offer Australians an opportunity to get on the wagon.

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This blog was produced using data from our sister company 
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Thought Leadership
Australia gets on the wagon: what’s driving low and no alcohol trends

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