How data-driven startups will get the digital economy going

"WHO OWNS THE INFORMATION, OWNS THE WORLD", Sir Winston Churchill

Data is the new fuel of the digital economy

This popular saying by Tom Goodwin really gets you thinking:

  • Uber is the world’s leading taxi service that DOESN’T own transport.
  • Facebook is the most popular media platform that DOESN’T produce its own content.
  • Alibaba is one of the biggest retailers that has NEITHER inventory NOR warehouses.
  • Airbnb is the largest hotel chain that DOESN’T own a single hotel.

Do these companies know something we don’t? As you can probably guess, the secret lies in matching supply and demand together by providing a platform for them to thrive and drive profit. But what enables them to do that?

In the modern world, you don’t need to own a commodity to make profit. You need to own DATA by having access to it. If you think about it, data is just the side product of our lives. We generate data as we go, whatever we do. It is an endless reservoir that will never get filled up. However, data on its own is a raw ingredient; what matters, is the recipe.

21st century’s secret recipes

What you saw at the beginning of this article, were examples of good recipes. When ‘cooked’ properly, data can move mountains.

Google, for example, turn user queries (of which there are 90 bln per month!) into a knowledge database and create whole new products and services based on that data (for example, Google Trends or Keyword Planner). The more people google, the smarter Google becomes. This new concept of development‘from within’ could not have been forecast by even the greatest economists and market gurus.

Facebook uses the same principle: it learns about its users through their ‘likes,’ posts, tags and other forms of engagement, making their targeting algorithms more intelligent with each passing second. Users also get to test some of the algorithms, for example, when uploading and tagging pictures of friends. This made it possible for machines to recognize hundreds of millions of people with nearly 100% accuracy.

Data is used to attract more users, who generate more data, that is used to improve the service and, again, attract more users. It’s like a virtuous circle, an unstoppable power that drives world progress.

While gigantic corporations keep excelling thanks to their own users’ contribution, there’s othertechnologies that are pushing the data-driven economy forward.

Data-oriented startups will keep the fire burning

You can't do your shopping without being able to access the shop (even virtually.) What enables this accessis the infrastructure: roads, cars, couriers etc. The same goes for data access: data is the hidden gemthat you can only reach through the use of certain technologies. These technologies have become the infrastructure of the digital economy.

A quick and easy access to data is an extremely valuable thing to have, whether you’re expected to make a fast yet serious business decision worth a lot of money, or train a neural network when the competition is tough.

The Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology has proved to make access to data simpler in many ways, making data more ‘digestible’ for humans. NLP has received wide application in many spheres of live, with natural language interfaces being one of them. NLP continues to progress in terms of helping computers correctly interpret human speech and adapt to it. This lead to the appearance of digital assistants of any kind and these are predicted to show even better results, like Amazon’s Alexa helping customers with product and inventory questions, Apple’s Siri tutoring students and IBM’s Watson diagnosing rare diseases.

Data-driven Startups like FriendlyData have also made their contribution towards wiping the borders between human and machine language. FriendlyData’s recipe is about providing quick and easy access to data for everyone, even the non-techiest people. How? Via the Natural language interface, thanks to which you can literally speak to your databases.

FriendlyData has developed an API-based solution for databases that uses Natural Language Processing. It allows databases to translate natural language into SQL requests and generate meaningful responses. The advanced NLP interface can be built directly into enterprise BI, Analytics, CRM or data warehousing solution. With FriendlyData, one can simply ask the database to find, let’s say "The fastest train between Paris and Amsterdam", or "All employees aged 18-25 who haven’t undergone corporate training" and receive an answer within just a second!

It goes without saying: data is the driver of growth, but on its own, it is nothing more than a crude material. The new ‘data’ economy of the 21st century is about accessing and analyzing flows of endless data.

Now it is up to you how you mix, blend and match your data to produce amazing results! Take advantage of some of the FriendlyData's solution and get your data to work for you.

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