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Thought Leadership

Data, Data, Everywhere But Not A Byte To Use

by James Barton / April 15, 2019

Similar to Samuel Tayor Coleridge’s timeless poem about the sea, the world of Travel Safety is surrounded by data but just like the sea water, is inaccessible and in many cases unusable.

You see, amidst all of our activities in keeping people safe, we are also leaving a trail of data behind that, if used intelligently, could be used to create future insights to help people stay even safer. Take for example our check-in data.

In the majority of cases (unless we are told not to) when a traveller checks in, we are normally recording their location and often whether they are safe or in need of assistance. With millions of trips happening daily, all of this data can create a real time map of the world and where people are feeling safe, and where they are not.

Of course, with the ability to capture and store that data, we can start to build up a picture of historic safe and unsafe locations. No need to get third-party assistance or to use analysts. We have this data now. I am not for a second not saying there is not a place for curated content from analysts, but I am suggesting there is a lot more we can do to give our customers more information about a location that shows an overlay of real time experience, even if it's something as simple as a RAG status. 

My background before joining eTravelSafety included working with some of the biggest BI companies in the world. What that experience showed me was that ‘there is gold in them there hills’ and when data is properly analysed and correctly structured, we will find much more than we think. As my old client used to say, there is power in the grey.


The Power Of The Grey

Let me explain.

The grey is all about looking for data that may not be directly related to the subject (so not a yes or no) but rather data that it is associated with. For you to be able to do that well, you need to use visualization tools (like Qlik, Tableau, Spotfire) etc that show you this associated data so you can explore it. This is where the gold is, and it is unexplored territory.

My firm belief is that if we are able to structure what we already have properly, and put some industry effort into the analysis of what we find, we are going to find some significant insights that will change Travel Safety fundamentally. But it is all about collaboration, focus and belief that Travel Safety is important.


Collaboration Is Power

With so many providers of software and solutions it is becoming obvious that there has never been a standard by which we hold and record data, which makes this important job of data structure even more difficult. Sure we can build tools that analyse unstructured data using 3D data cubes, but we still need to work together as an industry to get these important insights and data that can underpin our respective solutions, giving everyone the opportunity to travel safely.

My call to the industry is to get together and come up with a plan than reaches beyond our commercial or competitive landscapes, and focuses on the most important thing, humans.

Who’s with me?

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James Barton

James Barton

With over 20 years of experience in technology and sales, James is one of the leading voices in leveraging technology to create effective solutions.