Real-time data has never been more important to today’s businesses. It is all around us, all the time, and permeates our daily lives. The latest business information technology and platforms allow us to analyse data live – and make decisions based on what’s happening right now. But how can your business make the most of it?
What is real-time data?
Data is nothing new. As early as 19,000BCE, ancient humans were using a notched baboon bone as a tally stick to log numerical data. In the 19th Century, punch cards began the first era of automated data processing. And, of course, the 20th Century saw the introduction of magnetic data storage and the Cloud storage of the internet.
In the early years of data processing, ‘static data’ (fixed data that doesn’t change after collection) was collected and processed in ‘batches’. This lengthy process is still viable for specific uses today, but for most businesses, real-time data processing is the paradigm shift that has changed the way modern organisations are run.
Real-time data processing (or streaming data) continually collects, stores and analyses, so data is ready – and in a usable format – right away.
In a world that runs in real-time – and increasingly runs on data – the need for real-time data has increased significantly in recent years.
How can real-time data be accessed?
Data is everywhere. By 2025 it’s predicted our daily lives will exist alongside up to 463 exabytes of data (1 exabyte = 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes).
To make sense of real-time data, we thankfully have data dashboards and real-time data visualisations. Humans respond to and process visual data faster – up to 60,000 times faster than text. So businesses can use data visualisation to break down vast complex data into bite-size chunks we can understand at a glance.
Vizlib builds powerful value-added products for Qlik Sense that create visualisations, charts, interactive dashboards and analytics – making real-time data insights accessible and usable by anyone at any level of business.
The use of real-time data analytics allows companies to better understand their particular market as it is today – not as it was days, weeks, months or years ago. See how Vizlib delivers real-time insights!
How are businesses using it?
Real-time data has typically been restricted to advanced use cases, applicable only to large financial services organisations and Silicon Valley giants. But, using the latest visualisation tools and platforms, businesses of all kinds are finding ways to make real-time data work for them.
In manufacturing, for instance, cameras can be trained to spot wear and tear in real-time – preventing potentially costly malfunctions. In site security, machine vision-equipped cameras can automatically sound the alarm at the first sign of suspicious activity.
Logistics operators can access external traffic or weather data streams to help with route planning. And e-commerce companies use data to cross-sell and up-sell more products to customers.
Many companies are using real-time analytics as a powerful tool to track customers’ browsing and predict their intentions – enabling them to deliver the right message at the right time. Vizlib’s value-added products for Qlik Sense can help those companies supercharge their real-time analytics.
Real-time manufacturing insights
As a manufacturer, Crider Foods relies on up-to-date information to maintain and optimise everything from plant floor activities to logistics. Before adopting Qlik Sense and Vizlib’s value-adding solutions, the company’s data processing was an arduous, lengthy process – taking up to seven days to gather and analyse key data.
Today, the situation is far different. With Qlik and Vizlib steering their Business Intelligence (BI), they have data available in near real-time to make improvements fast.
We can make decisions that impact us before we’ve even finished the day, and finish the day stronger than we would have without the information.
Joshua Poole, Director, Crider Foods
What are data best practices?
Real-time analytics means faster, more effective decision-making. Here are four best practices to follow if you’re new to real-time data.
Use real-time data to make real-time decisions
If you have data in real-time, use it. Particularly for operational decisions that are typically slower and repeated often. Respond to the now – not last month’s, or even yesterday’s, data.
Track and adapt… frequently
Check the results of timely operational decisions to make sure your models are working. Don’t be afraid to modify your rules and analytics frequently to get things right.
Remember, mistakes will happen
If left to run, computers will make mistakes. So be sure to include ‘guard rails’ to keep things on track. Including real human monitors and a stop button, so you can act quickly if a problem occurs.
Get personal, but remember the big picture
Real-time data visualisation allows individuals to see what they need to see, specific to their role. But using the same data across the organisation also makes sure everyone has the same understanding of your situation.
Level up your data skills with The VizLab
Whether you’re looking to brush up your existing skills or learn the basics of real-time data visualisation, Vizlib can help you achieve your goals.
The VizLab is an eLearning platform for data enthusiasts across all levels of experience – from entry-level users to industry-leading dataviz experts.
Offering easy access to an effective support channel that helps boost user adoption, The VizLab lets you and your team explore certified learning courses that will improve your understanding and use of our products. For every course you complete, you’ll be awarded an accredited badge. Learn more about The VizLab.