Data Analytics

The age of context

Published on November 12th, 2015

The ability for big data systems to hone in on single customers is reshaping everything from how we get the weather to education and healthcare. The world of finance has been late to the party, however. We’re only now beginning to see the first systems designed to develop and apply individual context from large datasets. With billions being poured into the development of new financial technologies, the age of context is about to arrive with a bang…

A recent study by Rand Merchant Insurance Holdings showed how quickly data volumes are exploding and how that growth is happening at an individual level. The study found that by 2020 there will be approximately 1.7 megabytes of new information created every second for every human being on the planet. This will lead to comprehensive datasets being gathered for every person alive, which will be used to create an environment for powerful contextual systems that can, for example, drill down to individual behavioural patterns.

According to technology research and consulting firm Gartner, by 2020 information will be used to reinvent, digitalise or eliminate 80% of business processes and products that existed a decade before. More than half of the processes and products around today in 2015 will not be here in five years.

Dominique Collett, a senior investment executive at RMIH who compiled the study into data analytics, said that the data explosion is exciting from a customer perspective.

“Combining cross-industry data sets will allow a deeper understanding of customers and help design products that really meet customer needs,” she said.

“Quantium, for example, have started doing this in Australia by combining retailer or MNO, and banking data to get a 360 degree view of a customer.”

She said that this is just the beginning, and that next-generation analytics systems will apply machine learning to be more rapid and dynamic.

An example of a business working on this confluence of technologies is AlphaCode gold member Isazi Consulting that has a core business in machine learning, data science and optimisation.

Other African businesses in the space include DataProphet, GraphFlow and Thought Express.

“I think we are only beginning to see how the power of data analytics and the financial services industry is going to be fundamentally reshaped by it,” said RMIH’s Collett.

“It’s clear that data scientists are the new rockstars.”