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6 Big Data trends, 5 ways companies of all size are adapting

Professionals of all types are diving into the wealth of information being collected every second online, and because it’s called Big Data, so many will be at a disadvantage by ignoring the concept. Here are 6 trends and 5 ways to adapt to the Big Data movement.

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Defining Big Data

Recently, AGBeat addressed “Big Data” which is defined as large data sets which cannot be managed with simple, common software that captures and processes the data, and is typically consisting of at least dozens of terabytes in a single data set. The challenges of Big Data are, well, big, and most attention is being paid to the massive amounts of data being generated by social media sites like Facebook and Foursquare.

In fact, Big Data was a popular theme at the recent South by Southwest Conference in Austin, with technologists and marketers bringing their unique backgrounds to the conversation, each addressing the collection of and processing of the unprecedented data being collected, for the first time outside of the government, and the concerns that go along with consumers blindly offering up the data.

6 Big Data trends

Bassel Ojjeh, CEO of nPario and former Senior VP of the Data Technology division at Yahoo gave AGBeat an exclusive look at what he is seeing as the top six trends in Big Data:

  1. Consolidation of Big Data players by either system integrators or hardware makers. Big Data has a big appetite for consulting as well as hardware and storage.
  2. Hadoop becoming the source of raw data and connectors from there to enterprise data warehouses like Netezza, etc.
  3. The slow death of RDBMS as we grew up to know them. Which makes for a good question of what will Oracle do.
  4. Evolution of startups from those who focused on infrastructure plays (Cloudera as an example) to industry specific and application specific plays.
  5. Integration of data from Natural user interfaces and smart devices with social and behavioral data.
  6. “Global Impact – Big Data empowering more Arab Springs around the world”. We already saw this in few occasions.

Operating at the intersection of technology and advertising, nPario delivers Big Data publisher and marketing solutions. nPario provides “Audience DNA” to reduce consumer data complexity and to deliver ROI and is the only player in the industry offering these solutions on an open and extensible architecture. nPario is able to extract consumer insights from all sources and transform them into a set of integrated marketing apps that product owners, account executives and clients can use to drive their campaigns. The company helps business users to drive more relevant experiences for their customers through data. They have a multi-patented Big Data platform that was built for and managed by one of the largest online portals in the world.

5 ways professionals are mastering Big Data

Kami Huyse, CEO of Zoetica (an agency that connects brands and nonprofits with their communities for social good) recently crafted a list of five essential skills to master Big Data that is geared toward public relations professionals but we believe is applicable to almost any professional:

  1. Become an analyst. Don’t be intimidated by data and analytics.
  2. Learn Excel. One of the best gifts you can give yourself is to take an advanced Excel course to learn how to manipulate data in spreadsheets.
  3. Collect Data. Consider collecting your own data to supplement what you get from any tools you use.
  4. Evaluate Tools. By all means keep an eye out for new tools.
  5. Ask questions. Lots of them. With all of these big data tools, understanding the methodology new tools use to analyze data will be critical.

More details can be found on SpinSucks.com, but Huyse mainly notes that it is important not to get intimidated – the very phrase Big Data can be intimidating, but it is within reach of companies to grasp the wealth of information available to them.

Tonia Ries, founder of Modern Media and The Realtime Report and conferences said, “Understanding how to query, read, map and manipulate data — not what the typical PR or marketing person signed up for, but so critical. I look at it the same way I look at programming: I don’t need to know exactly how to do it, but I need to understand enough about it so I can ask the right questions and use the tools that are built by the programmers.”

“There is a ton of data that people can get their heads around and gain valuable insights with a few simple tools,” said Matt Hixson, CEO of Tellagence. “Learning excel is a great example of DIY analytics. You can gain a ton of insights from doing that. Where it gets complex is when you get to relationships and groups of relationships around specific subjects that form communities. We have tons of data points today but most of us end up putting a mental model of how it all fits together in our head. I think over the coming months people will see new accessible applications that allow them to visualize and understand what they have only pieced together in the past.”

The takeaway

Big Data is here and it is not for the nerds, it is something many companies are already tackling, and all businesses will be thinking about in coming years – it is better to get a jump on it sooner than later to maximize its potential.

Public relations professionals, marketing and communications staff or even CEOs have DIY options, but have amazing tools like nPario within reach, but the commonality of what everyone above is saying is that it is not a trendy phrase, it is a relevant business concept, and we would add that it is a concept most will ignore because it sounds too sophisticated and data nerdy, so professionals in the know will have the advantage.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

Tech News

The newest booming business: Hiding from facial recognition

(TECH NEWS) ‘Cloaking’ is the new way to hide your face. Companies are making big money designing cloaking apps that thwart your features by adding a layer of make up, clothing, blurring, and even transforming you into your favorite celebrity.

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Facial recognition companies and those who seek to thwart them are currently locked in a grand game of cat and mouse. Though it’s been relentlessly pursued by police, politicians, and technocrats alike, the increasing use of facial recognition technology in public spaces, workplaces, and housing complexes remains a widely unpopular phenomenon.

So it’s no surprise that there is big money to be made in the field of “cloaking,” or dodging facial recognition tech – particularly during COVID times while facial coverings are, literally, in fashion.

Take Fawkes, a cloaking app designed by researchers at the University of Chicago. It is named for Guy Fawkes, the 17th century English revolutionary whose likeness was popularized as a symbol of anonymity, and solidarity in V For Vendetta.

Fawkes works by subtly overlaying a celebrity’s facial information over your selfies at the pixel level. To your friends, the changes will go completely unnoticed, but to an artificial intelligence trying to identify your face, you’d theoretically look just like Beyonce.

Fawkes isn’t available to the general public yet, but if you’re looking for strategies to fly under the radar of facial recognition, don’t fret; it is just one example of the ways in which cloaking has entered the mainstream.

Other forms of cloaking have emerged in the forms of Tik Tok makeup trends, clothes that confuse recognition algorithms, tools that automatically blur identifying features on the face, and much more. Since effective facial recognition relies on having as much information about human faces as possible, cloaking enthusiasts like Ben Zhao, Professor of computer science at the University of Chicago and co-developer of Fawkes, hope to make facial recognition less effective against the rest of the population too. In an interview with The New York Times, Zhao asserts, “our [team’s] goal is to make Clearview [AI] go away.”

For the uninitiated, Clearview AI is a start-up that recently became infamous for scraping billions of public photos from the internet and privately using them to build the database for a law enforcement facial recognition tool.

The CEO of Clearview, Hoan Ton-That, claimed that the tool would only be improved by these workarounds and that in long run, cloaking is futile. If that sounds like supervillain talk, you might see why he’s earned himself a reputation similar to the likes of Martin Shkreli or Ajit Pai with his company’s uniquely aggressive approach to data harvesting.

It all feels like the beginning of a cyberpunk western: a story of man vs. machine. The deck is stacked, the rules are undecided, and the world is watching. But so far, you can rest assured that no algorithm has completely outsmarted our own eyeballs… yet.

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Australia wants Facebook and Google to pay media royalties

Australia seeks to require Facebook and Google to pay royalties to media companies for use of news content on their platforms.

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Australia is in the process of requiring tech giants, Facebook and Alphabet, to pay royalties to Australian media companies for using their content. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced the move the day after the US Congressional antitrust hearing that put the CEOs of Facebook, Alphabet, Amazon, and Apple back in the regulatory spotlight.

In addition to the pressure from the United States investigation into market control by these companies, global leaders are calling for similar regulations. Though none have been successful, media companies in Germany, France, and Spain have pushed for legislation to force Google to pay licensing fees to use their news content. Some companies have been pushing for this for years and yet, the tech giants keep dragging out their changes, even admitting their actions are wrong.

In 2019, the Australian government instructed Facebook and Google to negotiate voluntary deals with Australian media to use their content. The Australian government says the companies failed to follow through on the directive, and therefore will be forced to intervene. They have 45 days to reach an agreement in arbitration, after which the Australian Communications and Media Authority will create legally binding terms for the companies on behalf of the Australian government.

Google claims the web traffic that it drives to media websites should be compensation enough for the content. A Google representative in Australia asserts that the government regulations would constitute interference into market competition – which would be the point, Google!

According to a 2019 study, an estimated 3,000 journalism jobs have been lost in the last decade. The previous generation of media companies has paid substantial advertising fees to Google and Facebook while receiving nothing in return for the use of its news content. Frydenberg asserts the regulatory measures are necessary to protect consumers and ensure a “sustainable media landscape” in the country.

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Tech News

Onboarding for customers and employees made easy

(TECH NEWS) Cohere enables live, virtual onboarding at bargain prices to help you better support and guide your users.

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onboarding made easy

Web development and site design may be straightforward, but that doesn’t mean your customers won’t get turned around when reviewing your products. Onboarding visitors is the simplest solution, but is it the easiest?

According to Cohere–a live, remote onboarding tool–the answer is a resounding yes.

Cohere claims to be able to integrate with your website using “just 2 lines of code”; after completing this integration, you can communicate with, guide, and show your product to any site visitor upon request. You’ll also be able to see what customers are doing in real time rather than relying on metrics, making it easy to catch and convert customers who are on the fence, due to uncertainty or confusion.

There isn’t a screen-share option in Cohere’s package, but what they do include is a “multiplayer” option in which your cursor will appear on a customer’s screen, thus enabling you to guide them to the correct options; you can also scroll and type for your customer, all the while talking them through the process as needed. It’s the kind of onboarding that, in a normal world, would have to take place face-to-face–completely tailored for virtual so you don’t have to.

You can even use Cohere to stage an actual demo for customers, which accomplishes two things: the ability to pare down your own demo page in favor of live options, and minimizing confusion (and, by extension, faster sales) on the behalf of the customer. It’s a win-win situation that streamlines your website efficiency while potentially increasing your sales.

Naturally, the applications for Cohere are endless. Using this tool for eCommerce or tech support is an obvious choice, but as virtual job interviews and onboarding become more and more prevalent, one could anticipate Cohere becoming the industry example for remote inservice and walkthroughs.

Hands-on help beats written instructions any day, so if companies are able to allocate the HR resources to moderate common Cohere usage, it could be a huge win for those businesses.

For those two lines of code (and a bit more), you’ll pay anywhere from $39 to $129 for the listed packages. Custom pricing is available for larger businesses, so you may have some wiggle room if you’re willing to take a shot at implementing Cohere business-wide.

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