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Big data has confidence gap

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According to a new survey, most business leaders today believe in the value of using data and analytics throughout their organisations, but say they lack confidence in their ability to measure the effectiveness and impact of it.

For the report, Building Trust in Analytics, KPMG commissioned Forrester Consulting to survey 2,165 respondents from 10 countries(including South Africa) to identify in which areas businesses are using D&A, and to what extent they lack trust in their D&A models and processes to drive decision-making and desired outcomes. The report shares insights and recommendations on suggested processes, practices and governance for building trust in D&A using KPMG’s four anchors of trust, a framework for assessing quality, effectiveness, integrity and resilience.

Most businesses in South Africa, the survey shows, use D&A tools to analyse existing customers (51 percent), find new customers (42 percent) and to develop new products and services (49 percent). Yet, executives do not trust that they are managing their D&A processes effectively to generate desired outcomes and lack the necessary measures to assess the efficacy of those models.

“As analytics increasingly drive the decisions that affect us as individuals, as businesses and as societies, there must be a heightened focus on ensuring the highest level of trust in the data, the analytics and the controls that generate desired outcomes,” said Karin Kruger, Associate Director, Data and Analytics, KPMG in South Africa. “Organisations that continue to invest in D&A without determining its effectiveness could likely make decisions based on inaccurate models, which would perpetuate a cycle of mistrust in the insights.”

Kruger continued: “Failing to master analytics will not only make it increasingly hard for organisations to compete, but will expose their brands to new and growing risks”.

Levels of confidence in D&A

There’s some level of confidence displayed by respondents in South Africa about the insights they’re deriving from D&A in the areas of risk and security (69 percent), for customer insight (68 percent) and 65 percent around business operations.

“Transparency about the use and impact of an organisation’s data and analytics is key to overcoming the long-held bias that conventional decision-making is more reliable,” said Frank Rizzo, Data and Analytics leader at KPMG in South Africa. “We need to take D&A out of the ‘black box’ to encourage greater understanding about its use and purpose to help organisations trust the new insights it can bring.”

When it comes to assessing where the trust gaps may be within an organisation’s analytics model, respondents rated how well their processes aligned and performed against the capabilities outlined under four anchors of D&A: quality, effectiveness, integrity and resilience.

Recommendations

“KPMG offers recommendations that can assist organisations with closing the trust gaps across the analytics lifecycle,” said Rizzo. “These comprise seven key areas: 1) assessing the trust gaps; 2) creating purpose by clarifying goals; 3) raising awareness to increase internal engagement; 4) developing an internal D&A culture; 5) opening up the ‘black box’ to encourage greater transparency; 6) having a 360-degree view by building ecosystems; and 7) stimulating innovation and analytics R&D to incubate new ideas and maintain a competitive stance.

“It’s imperative that D&A leaders make trust a high priority,” Rizzo continued. “To be a competitive, D&A-driven organisation, business leaders must navigate the complex processes, systems, compliance requirements, and governance to confidently and consistently move from insights to measurable action.”

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CES: Most useless gadgets of all

Choosing the best of show is a popular pastime, but the worst gadgets of CES also deserve their moment of infamy, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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It’s fairly easy to choose the best new gadgets launched at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week. Most lists – and there are many – highlight the LG roll-up TV, the Samsung modular TV, the Royole foldable phone, the impossible burger, and the walking car.

But what about the voice assisted bed, the smart baby dining table, the self-driving suitcase and the robot that does nothing? In their current renditions, they sum up what is not only bad about technology, but how technology for its own sake quickly leads us down the rabbit hole of waste and futility.

The following pick of the worst of CES may well be a thinly veneered attempt at mockery, but it is also intended as a caution against getting caught up in hype and justification of pointless technology.

1. DUX voice-assisted bed

The single most useless product launched at CES this year must surely be a bed with Alexa voice control built in. No, not to control the bed itself, but to manage the smart home features with which Alexa and other smart speakers are associated. Or that any smartphone with Siri or Google Assistant could handle. Swedish luxury bedmaker DUX thinks it’s a good idea to manage smart lights, TV, security and air conditioning through the bed itself. Just don’t say Alexa’s “wake word” in your sleep.

2. Smart Baby Dining Table 

Ironically, the runner-up comes from a brand that also makes smart beds: China’s 37 Degree Smart Home. Self-described as “the world’s first smart furniture brand that is transforming technology into furniture”, it outdid itself with a Smart Baby Dining Table. This isa baby feeding table with a removable dining chair that contains a weight detector and adjustable camera, to make children’s weight and temperature visible to parents via the brand’s app. Score one for hands-off parenting.

Click here to read about smart diapers, self-driving suitcases, laundry folders, and bad robot companions.

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CES: Tech means no more “lost in translation”

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Talking to strangers in foreign countries just got a lot easier with recent advancements in translation technology. Last week, major companies and small startups alike showed the CES technology expo in Las Vegas how well their translation worked at live translation.

Most existing translation apps, like Bixby and Siri Translate, are still in their infancy with live speech translation, which brings about the need for dedicated solutions like these technologies:

Babel’s AIcorrect pocket translator

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The AIcorrect Translator, developed by Beijing-based Babel Technology, attracted attention as the linguistic king of the show. As an advanced application of AI technology in consumer technology, the pocket translator deals with problems in cross-linguistic communication. 

It supports real-time mutual translation in multiple situations between Chinese/English and 30 other languages, including Japanese, Korean, Thai, French, Russian and Spanish. A significant differentiator is that major languages like English being further divided into accents. The translation quality reaches as high as 96%.

It has a touch screen, where transcription and audio translation are shown at the same time. Lei Guan, CEO of Babel Technology, said: “As a Chinese pathfinder in the field of AI, we designed the device in hoping that hundreds of millions of people can have access to it and carry out cross-linguistic communication all barrier-free.” 

Click here to read about the Pilot, Travis, Pocketalk, Google and Zoi translators.

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