Digitization vs. Digitalization

Digitization

The term digitization refers to the process of conversion of a variety of information formats like audio, images, videos, drawings, text into a digital format. In digitization, information is organized into single binary codes. Digitization process facilitates quick transmission, processing and easy storage. Digitization can be done either by scanning from a two dimensional analog like photos, hand-written documents, photos or directly through a digital camera or CAT scanner, etc. The most important benefit of digitization is that it liberates the document from the constraint of a traditional access methods.

Digitizing doesn’t mean replacing the original document, image, sound, etc. Sometimes it gets destroyed (after having digitized a paper document you can destroy it or keep it, depending on, for instance, legal requirements), sometimes it disappears anyway (if we capture the sound and ‘motion( of your presentation at an event, the digital format continues to exist while your voice and physical presentation are gone during that presentation are gone forever) and sometimes it is transformed but that’s not that much about digitization in the strictest sense (if you take a picture of a building you have a digitally born representation of the building but the building is not digitized or you might have an analog picture which you scan so it is digitized).

Digitization is the automation of existing manual and paper-based processes, enabled by the digitization of information; from an analog to a digital format. Digitization plays a huge role in the ultra-paced modern life, where communication takes place on a variety of virtual platforms through mobiles, computers, and laptops. This dynamic lifestyle necessitates the importance of fast availability of data. Digitized data assures better security, better accessibility and better preservation.

What is Digitalization?

Although often used interchangeably with digitization, digitalization is much more than just extended automation. It is about creating and delivering new values to customers not just improving the current offerings. Even though the word implies, digitalization does not actually focus on technology but rather on providing value through improved processes and productivity. It makes the use of digital technologies to transform business processes, improve overall business and generate revenues.

Digitalization is the strategy of adopting recent technologies in IT to make the most of the digital resources available in the enterprise. Some of the benefits to adopt this strategy are:

  • Evolve business models to improve businesses, customer experience, more productivity etc.
  • Automation and Factory of the future
  • Ease of doing business
  • Growth; Stay in the race and edge ahead of others.

What is the difference between digitization and digitalization?

Digitizing has increased the efficiency of our processes; digitalization means that business now uses technology to engage with people to precisely address their particular needs.”

It requires digitization of information but it means more and at the very center of it is data. While digitization is more about systems of record and, increasingly systems of engagement, digitalization is about systems of engagement and systems of insight, leveraging digitized data and processes.

Looking for Digitization or Digitalization? Look no further; we’ve got you covered. We at Ninestars, have been a part of this digital shift since 1999, starting with milestone projects in newspaper archive digitization and over the years contributing to the digital transformation initiatives of more than 150 organizations worldwide.

Contact us now to see how we can help you!

Unlocking the hidden value of archives

What is archiving?

Archiving is a process where inactive data, in any format, is securely stored and preserved for long period of time. Such information may – or may not be used in the future, but nonetheless should be stored for as long as possible.

It should be emphasized that archived, inactive data can be made active again, as the proposition of not being able to access stored information after a certain period of time sometimes dissuades organizations from archiving their records. However, archived data can be stored in a number of ways and on a variety of devices.

What is an Archive?

An archive is an accumulation of unique records or the physical places they are located. Individuals and institutions warrant permanent preservation because of the value to their legal, administrative or fiscal purposes or to researchers because of their potential research value.

The majority of archived material is paper-based but archives also include:

  • Parchments
  • Photographs
  • Maps, plans and drawings
  • Audio and visual material
  • Electronic formats

Why are archives important?

Archives are the raw material of history; they are primary sources that provide evidence of activities and information about individuals and community, thereby increasing our sense of orientation.

They ensure justice, as records aren’t generally created for future historical research and often provide a less biased account of events.

They are:

  • Invaluable tools for historians
  • A sign of transparency

There are multiple reasons how archives benefits our lives and the growing organizations

1. Prevents data loss

Information can be lost forever if it isn’t archived on a secure repository. With archived material, the risk of accidentally deleting, misplacing a file is covered. Archived data allows individuals to retrieve backup information independently without having to rely on the expertise of third parties.

2. Increases security

Many organizations accidentally dispose of documents that they legally should be keeping. Archives play as the main backup especially at a time when cyber attacks and data breaches are becoming more common-place.

3. Protection of records

Archives not only protect the object but also protect the interrelatedness, impartiality, authenticity and uniqueness of the object/document.

Archives today

In the 21st century an overwhelming majority of newly created information is digital. The digital compilation of collecting institutions such as archives, libraries and repositories consist of either digitized or ‘born digital’ content.

The existing belief that digital objects can be managed using the same techniques and methodologies that were developed and used over years for physical objects is misconstrued. With digitization, objects are easier to copy, transfer and package.

Our personal documents and files are important to us as they record the details of our lives and define us. But increasingly, our possessions are no longer material: they’re digital. Digital files are encoded to represent text, images, audio, video and more. We can preserve our digital possessions and keep them safe and accessible for years to come, but we have to archive them and actively manage them.

Physical vs. Digital archiving

What are physical archives?

Physical archiving is a traditional method and usually refers to the process of archiving paper documents. Archiving important information like records, legal documents, customer files or conference paper in paper may not be a good idea. Multiple factors like moisture, mishandling or passage of time can all end up ruining important data.

There isn’t any guarantee that physical archives can even survive for a short time period. Although microforms were invented in the eighties, and are more durable than paper; they can be easily damaged because of their small size and further require bulky equipment to view the information

What is digital archiving?

With the invention of scanner, digital archiving came into being. Scanners are used to capture a digital image of a document that can be easily preserved and stored on a hard drive or a server. The biggest advantage of digital archiving is that your data cannot be tampered with. By opting for digital preservation, one can eliminate the need of bulky physical storage space as only virtual space is used in the process.

Mobile friendly apps such as CamScanner, Scanner Pro or Adobe scan have made digital archiving much easier in recent times. A scanned document can be saved in various formats, such as PDF, JPEG, TIFF or BMP. In addition to this, PDFs can be compressed to a very small size and made text searchable, which makes it easier to retrieve any information at any given time. Hence, organizations will never need to worry about finding any archived information.

Great reasons to go digital with your data

If document archiving is not one of your core competencies, you need not worry. Outsourcing document archiving to a service provider is simpler than ever. Outsourcing is not only cost-effective, but can also efficiently save your time and effort, which can be invested in your core business venture.

Here are the best benefits of outsourcing document archiving:

  • Get cost-effective, time saving and accurate document archiving services
  • Save on making investments in digital archiving technology or infrastructure
  • Focus on your core business venture, by outsourcing document archiving to experts
  • Get your archived information in any format of your choice- JPEG, TIFF, PDF or BMP

Conclusion

Notions of authenticity, originals and origins remain significant in the proficient practices of many communities. Archiving practices have evolved to ensure evidential value of records, however a clear understanding of the value and storage options will ensure that archives continue to convey context and communicate its importance to an ever-expanding audience for archived materials.

Archives are vital as much from the past as for our future.

Do you or your organization use any kind of preservation technology to preserve your archive collection? Do let us know.

Digital preservation- A time travel for historical newspapers

Over the years, people store and preserve various old newspapers or clipping that mark events they experienced, were involved in or events that were of some significant historical importance.

Some might keep a copy of the newspaper that published the day World War II ended, or the day the Great Migration happened, or perhaps a bit less monumental, a clipping from when someone changed their name or the opening of a shop announced in the local news. Preserving old newspapers and clippings is a timeless way to preserve important incidents that transformed the world into what we see it as today.

Yet these same newspapers and clippings are very fragile artifacts, and they deteriorate over time if not properly stored. The best way however, to store historical newspapers is by converting them into digital format. Since the advent of digital media, many institutions across the world have begun to digitize them and make the digital files publicly available.

Here are some of the reasons why digitization of historical newspapers is critical:

1. Excellent source of education

Newspapers contain very diverse information in topics such as politics, technology, scientific research and cultural disciplines and hence, act as an excellent source of education.

As newspapers do not demand an overly substantial historical knowledge and are chronologically structured, these considerably are the best materials for an investigation or a research project. Besides documenting the history of knowledge and information delivery, reading newspaper is also an efficient training for information competence.

2. Easily readable material

Today’s readers are more acquainted to consuming the short texts of articles because of our contemporary reading habits. Newspapers are an easy-to-read material for the broader public, although readers and researchers today are more capable of dealing with various topics and a multitude of information in succinct pieces of text.

Thus, digitizing them actually benefits users across the globe to access and learn about different events.

3. Linguistic projects

Vocabulary of a specific community can always be traced from the newspapers of their times thus leading way to bigger linguistic projects to understand the language from a specific period which makes them very representative for the written language used in the respective time period.

4. Consideration of a digital future

Digital preservation structures are considered by the needs and constraints of storage spaces with little consideration for the requirements of current and future users of digital scholarly resources.

5. To avoid degradation over time

The low quality material of the newspaper contains acids that cause the fibers to break down over time. In turn, the paper yellows and hardens, and the inks often fade and at times acidic ink destroys the material. Even in this day and age most newsprint papers are still made this way, with an expected lifespan of only 50 years or less. It is no exaggeration that handwritten medieval documents will be longer preserved than 19th century printed newspapers due to their material quality.

Summary

The collections of newspaper archives are very valuable, leading to a growing need to preserve them. Therefore, newspaper digitization can be seen as a contribution to cultural preservation and not only as a service for researchers, newsmongers, and the historically interested public.

Is your organization looking for digitization? We can help! Get in touch with us to see how we can help you in digitizing your assets.

Impacts of digitization

Today, the size of a business doesn’t matter, its agility and the capability to re-invent is that gives companies a sustainable advantage to compete in a digitalized world. So, here arrives a question: Has digitization ultimately been good or bad for the society? The question has been debated on since digitization is on attack.

There are multiple ways in which digitization has been a blessing for the evolving digital era: increased productivity, less need of a dedicated workspace, increased mobility and new innovative tools. The world is witnessing an accelerated pace in digitization — the mass adoption of smart and connected ICT by consumers, businesses, and governments. Digitization has helped enhance the world and society in general through flexible and greater work-life integration.

Although blurring the lines between private and work life works wonders on employee and corporate performance, but the implications on family life and health leans on the negative side.

Here are the most significant trends triggered by impacts of digitization:

  1. Digitization of the processes is not a new phenomenon, but it has reached a new tipping point. The connection between Big Data and robotisation evolves a new economy and hence a new world of work.
  2. There are two principal features of this phenomenon: one is the revolution of the platform-based economy with a “winners take all” philosophy, and the other is peer-to-peer exchanges.
  3. Digitization can also be considered as the fourth industrial revolution. The first industrial revolution was that of the steam engine, the second of electrification and mass production, and the third that of the computer. Digitization impacts consist of developments in IT, automation of workflows and processes, robotisation, internet and in field of defence and fight against terrorism.
  4. Digitization can create new types of jobs, new sectors, new products and new services (data architects, data developers, data analyst and application developers)
  5. Digitization could also accelerate fundamental changes in working practices. New forms of workers, machine-integration and process can bring out new kinds of jobs.
  6. Digitization might also lead to job-risks owing to automation of work process, computerization and robotisation. While there is no consensus of how many jobs will be lost, certainty is that the numbers will be very high.
  7. Digitization is likely to create an increasingly polarized economy characterized by gaping the inequality between “winner-takes-all superstars” and the masses of losers.

Here’s a list of different impacts digitization is creating over different aspects-

Strengths

  • Connected world, open systems, knowledgeable economy
  • Networks, exchange, sharing and collaboration, with access based on functionality rather than ownership
  • Integration of industries and services: intelligent factories, energy systems, mobility, transport and cities and optimized governance
  • Automation, robotisation, learning machines
  • Productivity, efficiency and profitability gains
  • Zero marginal cost economy
  • Innovative products and services, proliferation of mobile apps to make life easier.
  • New auto production capacities, micro factories

Weaknesses

  • Jobless growth, jobless future
  • Emergence of super powerful oligopolies, new world data masters
  • Concentration of power and wealth in value chains (equivalent losses for other companies, sectors and countries)
  • Protection of personal data exposed to intrinsic risks
  • Under- investment and under-utilization of digital tools for the social emancipation of low-income sections of society

Opportunities

  • New jobs (computer engineers and scientists, network experts, etc.)
  • More ‘agile’ work organization; new forms of more flexible and more autonomous work
  • Abolition of repetitive and routine tasks
  • Better performance of heavy and complex tasks; Better ergonomics
  • New forms of collaboration and cooperation among workers

Threats

  • Massive destruction of medium skilled jobs
  • Intensification of ‘anytime anywhere’ work; blurring of the boundary between private and working life leading to stress and burnout
  • Loss of control by workers of their own expertise and know-how and free will
  • Digital management, risk of mutual loss of trust between employees and management
Reference: Jobs in the digital economy, Christophe Degryse in “Digitalisation of the economy and its impact on labour markets.”

The Benefits of Digitization

Digitization is the process of converting analog information formats like audio, images, videos, drawings, text, etc., into a digital format. Digitization doesn’t necessarily have to replace the original documents, audio, images but it can complement or replace the original analog format. For instance, sometimes the original document may get destroyed pertaining to legal requirements and sometimes it may disappear by itself (For example, the sound and motion in a presentation capture). Basically, digitization is the electronic representation of the source which could be later accessed through computers or other digital devices.

In digitization information is stored in binary codes and the process can either be managed through scanning or with digital cameras. It is the automation of paper-based or manual processes.

Advantages of Digitization

  • Perhaps the most important advantage of digitization is that it frees the document from conventional access limitations.
  • Digitization ensures better preservation, better security and better availability.
  • Unlike the traditional storage limitations, for digital data there is no physical limits for storage.
  • Digitized data could be accessed through the Internet which ensures a 24/7 availability.
  • It is also a great preservation tool. At Ninestars, we have digitized fragile documents from 1600s ensuring their longevity and historic value by providing repair to the original documents and by preserving digital copies for future usage.
  • Digitization also helps save space. We have worked with numerous libraries around the world for digitization projects saving enormous space and preserving and archiving old books, texts and manuscripts.
  • Instead of going through hundreds of books to find what one is looking for, information could be easily retrieved from digital copies using keywords. We at Ninestars specialize in adding indexing and descriptive metadata through our state-of-the-art digitization process.
  • Digital files could be accessed by many people at once which wouldn’t be possible with a non-digital copy. Digitization also allows you resource sharing and linking possibilities.
  • With digitization, the digital copy can be reproduced with same exactness any number of times.

Tactical Advantages of Digitization

The rapid technological development has brought about an accelerated pace of innovation which requires every business to have optimum efficiency. Digitization can help organizations improve core business efficiencies. Some of the tactical benefits of digitization are:

  • Digitization helps in eliminating transcription errors.
  • It helps in improving accessibility to information thus minimizing informational silos.

Ninestars is proud to be a digitization partner of Trove (through NLA)

Chennai, India, – January 31, 2018 – Trove is an online search platform that helps find and use resources relating to Australia. It is collaboration between the National Library, Australia’s State and Territory libraries, and research institutions around Australia.

Trove’s origins can be traced back to a project launched by the National Library of Australia in August 2008 aimed to build a portal for all of the Library’s online discovery services. As a partner of National Library of Australia, Ninestars was instrumental in contributing more than 10 million pages of digitized Newspaper to Trove platform. Apart from English content, Ninestars also digitized the Australian Chinese Newspaper, a maiden attempt by NLA which was a huge success prompting NLA to go for more Chinese content digitization.

“It’s amazing the volume of work we have accomplished together, and it’s an absolute pleasure working with you,” stated Wan Wong, Director of National Library of Australia, ANDP project about Ninestars ’s contribution.

About Ninestars

Founded in 1999, Ninestars is an IP-driven Digital transformation industry leader. Ninestars helps Media, Publishing, Communication & PR, Government, BFSI and Publishing industries to redefine consumer experiences, strengthen their digital core, embrace digital transformation, and realize the full potential of their content. With over 18 years in the industry, Ninestars Information Technologies Pvt. Ltd. has been instrumental in revolutionizing the media industry with innovative projects in newspaper archive digitization and contributing to the digital transformation journey of more than 150 organizations worldwide. Ninestars partner with some of the most effective organizations in the world like ProQuest, IBM, Jastec, IISc, Abbyy, Hewlett Packard, Quark and Adobe InDesign to help achieve their shared values.

Top 10 Digital Transformation Trends to Watch Out in 2018 – Part 2

We are talking about the digital transformations to watch out for in 2018 and discussed 5 of them in the last blog. If you have not read the previous blog you can read it here

Moving on, let’s look at some of the other important digital technologies, which will move towards the peak this year and make a mark on the business landscape.

Augmented reality

AR is a digital trend to definitely bet on. Googles AR core, Snapchat Lens Studio, and Apples AR kit are proving that investing in AR today will open up new revenue streams tomorrow. These platforms are also providing people an opportunity to create their own augmented reality applications. AR is easily accessible and can be exploited via smartphones, thus providing a ready market. Various analysts project that mobile based augmented reality will act pivotal in adoption and usage of augmented reality, providing sustainable revenues. From Headsets to now smart contact lenses, AR is not limited to just visualizing things but also provides flexibility of creating things that can be harnessed by dynamic programming.

As we are talking about AR we also need to throw a light on Mixed Reality, which is basically a combination of VR and AR. MR or Mixed Reality is still on early research phases but holds considerable promise in business landscape.

Low code platforms

The need of extensive resources required to build application quality user experience applications across mobile, web and desktop development is not feasible for every organizations. This is because UX services with intensive coding are expensive, especially for small and medium sized enterprises.

Low code platforms have tapped into this space and provided accessibility to creation of advanced multi format applications faster. Traditionally it takes at least six to nine months to develop a custom application or a mobile app, which can be substantially lessened by use of low code platforms and can be done by an internal team simultaneously with other tasks.

Considering the increasing volatility in markets and ever changing customer demand patterns, having a quicker and affordable option towards building successful and updated applications is the need of the hour. Major giants like Google coming up with low code platforms only stresses on the fact that this tech holds potential to turn big.

5th Generation Cell Processing

As discussed in our previous blog, IoT and emerging trends like AI require higher speed and seamless connectivity prompting the need for speedy development of 5G wireless standards. Looking at the current progress in research to introduce 5G we can see that it suffices all the 3 major needs, more number of connections, reduced latency (up to 40 times less than 4G) and increased throughput (transmission capacity to billions of bits)

Key players in the telecommunications industry like Verizon, AT&T, Samsung and Vodafone have already forecasted that 5G will be introduced soon and are gearing up to be equipped with compatible gadgets and infrastructure when 5G is commercially introduced. Although we can’t say for sure that 5G will be a thing of 2018, we can definitely say that it’s not too late before 5G will be the new essential.

Hybrid APIs

We think it’s safe to say that we are all in the API economy, and so choosing the right API connection for your organizations or project needs is important. As the API management platform market is maturing, enterprises are formulating holistic API strategies. All that said 2018 will be the year when people look at the APIs from the user perspective. 2017 was the year when we saw many large vendors acquire individual software vendors focused on API management for eg, Google’s acquisition of Apigee, pointing towards the need of hybrid cloud integration platforms. This can help organizations incorporate data and applications across varied and diverse cloud infrastructures.

This year organizations will be seen automating API frameworks which can be a systematic approach from creation to retirement of applications bringing the Life Cycle API management platforms into the limelight too. Moving away from the current approach we can expect organizations to use same tools and practices for managing their public and private APIs cohesively.

Apart from the above, the Open API initiative can also be seen gaining traction and opening up new business avenues.

CX-Optimization

Investing money in customer experience has been looked upon as a gamble since a long time as the returns might not happen right away. For the past decade we have been observing steady intervention of top-level management in creating value for the customers and raising the level of customer experience. Forrester reported this year that the top three challenges for a customer experience program include organizational culture (54%), organizational structures (45%), and processes (41%), which can only be solved with C level cognizance. The other important thing observed is that customers no longer want to watch long ads, disclaimer video, infomercials etc. instead want answers personalized to their background, and they want it quick. We can see machine learning stepping in here, as it can leverage the real time information it receives from the end user.

Customer experience is seen to get a data makeover, as the data generated is limitless and when leveraged efficiently can achieve higher levels of customer satisfaction and reduce the churn rate.

What Disruption Really Means For Business

“Disruption”! If only I had a nickel for every time I heard that phrase, well, let’s just say, “I would be writing this while flying to my own island in my own private jet! So, does this mean the phrase “disruption” has become overrated and it’s time we retire the buzzword? Our take is that instead of retiring the buzzword completely, we just need to kill the negative connotation that most start-ups seem to associate with the word ‘disruption’. Disruption doesn’t have to be a word for threat to established business models. Instead, it can be a method of looking inwards and focusing on creating values for the customers rather than trying to be one up on the competitors.

Constant and constructive disruption is positive and keeps the organization on their toes as they look forward to staying at par with start-ups coming in with new zeal and fresh ideas for doing businesses.

What is Disruption?

So, what exactly is disruption and how is it affecting the way marketplaces and businesses are evolving? Disruption in simple terms can be described as a wave of change in the way things are being done since ages. In the late 1990s, the Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen defined the concept of “disruptive innovation”, a principle whereby entrenched, dominant product or service providers could be unseated in the market (have their leadership position disrupted) by smaller rivals who offered solutions more simply or at less cost.

To put it in business terms, disruption is the change in way companies design, deliver, and serve products and services to the consumers. In today’s world where companies operate in a complex business environment, which is diverse, dynamic, and integrated, like never before, vulnerability to change is obvious, especially for the ones who have failed to incorporate change. Hence, we can say that the success mantra towards building a sustainable organization lies in its ability to adapt and not only accept the new order but blast open new opportunities from it.

Then and Now

Since the book “Innovator’s dilemma” hit the stores, people took the word disruption coined by Mr. Clayton seriously. He spoke about how companies will miss out on seizing new innovation opportunities as they fail to keep their ears on the ground and put money where it matters. To look at it more closely with an illustration, the trends that have followed the digitization revolution and budding opportunities in AI are prime examples. Many businesses failed to keep up with the rapid changes happening especially in the mobile landscape. Organizations that jumped on the bandwagon of digitization and automation in time arguably have better customer satisfaction.

Disruptions in the past decade have not only assisted companies but have helped the end user substantially too. The distance from company to consumer is down to fraction of a second enabling higher level of integration and engagement.

Looking Ahead

In this time of disruption and booming innovation it’s essential that organizations invest in the right research and development option and look at suitable channel partners who can help them accelerate growth while staying ahead of times. The nascent technologies of today like blockchain, crypto currency, etc., can become next big thing in terms of business. As we look ahead it is essential that a company formulates an innovative approach and portrays a sustainable strategy for its stakeholders. Challenging the status quo and taking calculated risk has become the need of the hour but the disruption should be projected inwards before outwards.

Top 10 Digital Transformation Trends to Watch Out in 2018

As Organizations are still battling to cope with the pace of changes that happened in 2017, it’s time to gear up for what 2018 has in store for all of us. Everyone had Artificial Intelligence and IoT on the tip of their tongues throughout 2017, while block-chain made its way towards the spotlight, its peer Bitcoin ate up all the attention. The year 2017 can be called as a learning curve for various companies. As many organizations were struggling and figuring out how to make the most of the new technologies flooding in, the likes of IBM, SAP, CISCO etc. were gearing to stay ahead in the race to exploit these opportunities in the business landscape.

Here are the 10 Digital Transformations trends, which were backstage in 2017 but are undoubtedly going to be hard to miss in 2018. In this two-part blog post, we will open the doors to the most important digital transformation trends that will most likely make waves in 2018.

Internet of Things

The last year was functional in shaping up the future of IoT in business and not limiting its use to creating just a network of things. With extensive data aggressive organizations working with IoT, we see 2018 a revolutionary year for IoT enabled businesses. Not only do we see IoT revolutionizing data collection and curation, but we can also expect it pushing different trends like analytics, Edge computing and 5G processing in the market.

There are currently about 8.4 billion connected devices in the world – somewhat short of the 26 billion that Gartner predicted in 2013 would be in use by the end of the decade. And there is only going to be an upward movement from here in terms of growth of smart devices. Apart from collection of data from this tremendous number of devices, the primary need is going to be in cutting through the clutter and finding those key business insights as businesses are going to need them in real time. This will forge the need for exponential speed and emergence of edge computing as the need of the hour. It will also push Mobile operators to direct their efforts towards faster implementation of 5G-cell processing.

Hybrid Analytics

In 2018, analytics is working closely with the digital innovation as the IoT, sensor, machine learning and AI, block chain and business data networks integrate to create whole new hoard of chances in the business world. This year looks as the changing point for the future of cloud analytics looking at the amount of cloud data that is being created. This is in turn pointing the need for organization to look at analytics from a hybrid perspective i.e. across various cloud platforms.

As natural language ushers in and provides users the flexibility to ask for specific answers from the data, obtaining insights from the information collected and processing it to understand business problems and formulating solutions is going to be relatively faster which in turn will open new avenues in augmenting the current state of use of analytics in sales, customer service and research. As machines learning, AI and big data walk hand in hand, insight trading will create new business ventures in curating data. This will turn make it easy for big organizations to gain access to rich insights from data that they do not own. Booming use of machine learning algorithms will change the face of sorting through large volumes of data to obtain relevant and contextual problem statements. In the era of customer being the king understanding your consumer precise needs will become much easier as analytics will take charge of obtaining the cream of customer intelligence.

Edge computing

For everyone working with intensive IoT technology and cloud computing, edge computing arrived as a blessing. With all the bandwidth, time and storage expense incurred to send data to centre storage data centers and conduct analysis, cloud seems to be taking a back seat in 2018 with edge computing emerging as the hero. Simple concept of installing micro data centers near the data sources enables the organization to conduct near real time data analysis, which is beneficial as, much of the data created nowadays is time bound. Gartner predicts by 2022, 75% of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed outside the data center or cloud, up from just 10% today.

For completely exploiting the benefits of edge computing we need to have substantial and sustainable IoT infrastructure ready as device connectivity is at its core. Taking science and technological advancements which have zero to none interference by humans for e.g. Self-driving cars are highly dependent on real time decision making and cannot depend on the latency caused due the large distance between the device and the cloud.

Edge computing not only saves costs by limiting the time taken to collect and analyze data but it also helps your organization stay connected with your data sources at all times and acts as a positive differentiator for your organization.

Blockchain

Once a complicated tech known only with respect to Bitcoin in the context, blockchain now as an individual technology is getting noticed by people. Blockchain is entering the mainstream world and gaining recognition as one of the most secure transactional technology we have in the world. As various crypto currencies can be seen making their way in the business landscape awareness about blockchain and its implementation in various other sectors apart from financial give and takes is coming into prominence.

The healthcare sector is next major user of blockchain, it uses blockchain to eliminate counterfeit pharmaceutical drugs. Nonetheless we can a large number of companies accepting crypto currencies and wallets as mode of payment for e.g., WordPress.

The basis of blockchain is disruption and thus it has the power to disrupt many deep-rooted industries especially the ones with lot of middlemen and intermediaries. Small players and startups engaging in creating business opportunities by the use of block chain is coming up as a trend this year with players like Excel Coin, Acorn Collective, Hybrid Block, ODEM etc. working to change the way a service can be delivered.

AI

Undoubtedly the most awaited trend of 2017, “Artificial Intelligence” became quite the buzzword by the end of 2017. We saw machine learning and AI being introduced as the one stop solution for all business problems but as we enter 2018 we are observing that even though AI holds tremendous opportunities it also comes with some set of limitations. Companies are trying to cut through the hype and are looking for specific and clear business applications for AI. And so we can say that 2018 is turning out the year where organizations want more than proof of concept.

Expert systems were crucial in lowering monotonous workloads especially in the financial world. Understanding the fact that integration of machine learning with the current use of expert systems will lead to more efficient usage can help organizations not only cut down on turn over time but cut costs and increase accuracy.

As AI techniques like deep learning come into the picture helping gain access to critical data insights, we can expect businesses not only wanting to know information but also understand the reasoning process putting emphasis on the back end. This will give impetus to improved Natural Language Generation systems.

Stay with us as we explore what more the digital world has in store for you as this year unfolds. Next article dives into predicting how 5G, Augmented reality, low code platforms, Apps and APIs and CX(Customer Experience) will emerge this year.

What Is Sentiment Analysis?

Keeping a finger on your customers’ pulse has always been the key in driving successful business enterprises. Understanding what users feel about your products and services, implementing the changes requested, solving the problems faced, coming up with new means to reach them better can be crucial while taking the next step to understand customer mindset

One of the best ways to gain considerable consumer insights is through sentiment analysis. Sentiment analysis has been around for a few years but because of the lack of real time data and deep learning tools, it stayed in the backseat. However, with abundant data availability and various deep-learning models at disposal, Sentiment analysis is again gaining momentum. So what exactly is sentiment analysis? What technological infrastructure is it backed by? And what can sentiment accuracy do for your business? Let’s explore answers to all these questions.

Sentiment Analysis?

Sentiments, alternatives for feelings, attitudes, opinions, advices etc. can be a handful to handle. Sentiments can be defined as various subjective impressions a person can have about what he or she is exposed to. So what has a business got to do with this? In business terms, we can relate this to comments, reviews, discussions, suggestions, or experiences your customers have when experiencing your products and services.

Sentiment analysis deals with analyzing all that the customers have been talking about your brand, be it positive or negative. Every word that a consumer puts out on any media platform can serve as a means to understand the feelings of the user. Often used together, words like semantic orientation and polarity, sentiment analysis entails identifying and characterizing user content by means of natural language processing, advanced machine learning methods and statistical tools. It is otherwise referred to as opinion mining too.

Which Questions Can Sentiment Analysis Answer?

From finding whether a product review is positive/negative to grasping the acceptance of your new marketing campaign, sentiment analysis can give you all the answers hidden in a simple text. It broadly comprises of,

Information extraction: This enables discarding the relative information and mining the right content for you.
Flame detection: Analyzing the nature of negative content being put out regarding your brand or any specific offering you have in the market.
Polarity Detection: Enables you to associate specific keyword with the reviews and comments generated and identify polarity if any exists.
Classifying: This guides in sorting out the good and bad content and studying the nature of words used in it, usually speedup by counting the number of positive and negative adjectives used.

Conducting continuous and productive sentimental analysis can throw a light on what your customers like and do not like, their preferences, specific things they would like to change, their experience with the service delivered and if they will recommend your services and products to anyone and or buy again from you et al. Creating a data set from these answers and running continuous analysis enables good feed to business intelligence.

Techniques Used

Although there are various tools and software which are readily available to conduct sentiment analysis but accuracy is the key. A weak sentimental analysis can not only give insufficient clarity but also misguide the conclusions derived due to inability to understand the polarity well. Sentimental Analysis is a text classification, which largely works on a machine learning mechanism with specific algorithms.

Supervised: When this technique is used, the machine already has a certain classified data set with which it takes reference of, to classify text mainly into positive, negative and neutral polarity. Popular models here include the maximum entropy model classifier and support vector machines.

Unsupervised: Here as there is no prior data set for reference the working popularly used is part of speech tagging. Once the words are extracted, semantic orientation is estimated, cumulative semantic orientation of the collected phrases helps in classifying.

Challenges

Sentiments are generally expressed as opinions and are subjective to the user and not facts. It is fairly obvious that machine-learning systems used cannot exactly interpret what a human being wants to express. As the way people express feelings in words can be tricky calling for the need for a strong sentiment analysis model. Let’s look at the challenges experienced while conducting sentiment analysis,

Taking literal meaning of content can lead to problems, as opinion texts are complex to interpret. They can comprise positive and negative things together and one positive thing does not indicate a positive classification thus, only lexical analysis can be misleading.
Humor and Sarcasm is extremely difficult for a machine to understand unless it has been trained under tremendous data sets of such data and has undergone many simulations. But now as deep learning is evolving this problem has become relatively easier to tackle.
Predispositions on the side of a business enterprise can lead to analyzing only that data, which can feed to the hypotheses, they have in their mind. On the other hand keeping an open mind enables you to see the problems from a more holistic view and understand that things may not be the way you had predicted. This in turn opens up new findings from the data to improve on.
How Important Is Sentiment Accuracy?

Sentiment accuracy refers to how accurately can you interpret the feelings of your user base or analyze the conversations you are a part of, on the web. Sentiment accuracy is the core of any sentiment analysis, as without higher rates of accuracy conducting sentiment analysis seems useless. There are various techniques by which you can work hard on increasing the accuracy of your analysis and they largely depend on obtaining the right data. Right data can only be facilitated by the use of right information extraction tools, cleaning and classifying this data will be the next step. Using good semantic orientation tools, which can score individual phrases and words, does not guarantee accuracy. The other way by which you can increase accuracy is exposing your ML model to extensive training by feeding it with large variety of data.

Finding the right tool or opting to conduct it in-house is a decision which is crucial as, you may find the right tool or not and doing it in-house may be costly for some and not for some. At the end of the day the deciding factor should be the accuracy obtained by the models and a fair call based on accurate results. Higher levels of accuracy will add value to your strategic decisions and help in creating value for your consumers further.

For a complimentary, no-obligation discussion around ideas on how to measure customer sentiment for your enterprise and your industry sector, please get in touch with us now.