In this ever-changing era of modern technology, data holds no limits when it comes to offering a propitious future. Data is after all, the new oil and changing how all industries operate. But what does data mean to us, exactly?
An alternative word for information, it is of utmost importance behind every business and strategy plan. For example, utilising data to determine consumer behaviour helps track their buying patterns in order to strategise efficiently. According to a 2017 Big Data Market Study from Dresner Advisory Services, 55% of North American companies have adopted data analytics into their business strategy. Sure, you can survive without the facts and figures, even make a profit perhaps, but at the end of the day, is your business scalable?
We spoke to Greg Meehan of Supahands, a Malaysian data training and regulating establishment, who shared his views on the importance of data and what it holds for the future of any industry.
Omnilytics: Tell us more about what Supahands does.
Greg: We clean and train data for machine learning algorithms.
O: In what direction do you think automation is moving towards now.
G: Automation should be regulated across everything. There is still a long way to go for that as much more data is required to be cleaned and trained for machine learning algorithm and Artificial Intelligence.
O: Supahands is digitising the way SMEs work today. Were there any challenges reaching out to local companies in the beginning and even today?
G: Yes. We have over 2,000 Supagents across SEA and it is helping people understand that we are able to manage the workflow for them while still maintaining the quality of work. Besides that, security and trust issues and also how we manage the risk of data leakage also raised uncertainties
O: What is an example of a client that has used your services?
G: We train softwares for self-driving vehicles. It takes countless hours to do that. We take a video footage and break it down 5 frames per second to images and do image annotation: labelling, categorisation, polygons and semantic segmentation.
O: What other clients will benefit from your services?
G: E-commerce for visual search and fashion websites for image annotation.
O: What leverage does Supahands have over other data entry providers?
G: We ensure speed, accuracy and consistency, something that is not necessarily guaranteed from the rest.
O: Do you think machine learning has changed things for SMEs as compared to before?
G: Yes, and companies that have yet to venture there may be obsolete in the near future. Being data-driven is key to a successful company.
O: What sort of reservations do people usually have about your systems and processes and how do you respond to them?
G: We have built a suite of tools designed to help protect client’s data while improving the efficiency of our Supagents who only have access to the required data and not the full data set in order to execute their task. It is also incredibly versatile and can be modified to include added security features.
O: AI and machine learning seem to be the buzzwords in today’s tech industry. How would you advise companies who want to be involved with data but have no clue on how to start?
G: First and foremost, companies should have a firm grasp on what their goals are and how data can propel their direction towards it. It is always varied across industries and applications so it is crucial to know what you want to change or improve within the business.
O: Do you think there is a stigma on data usage in Asia compared to other regions like Europe or US?
G: The vastness of data has increased tremendously over a short period of time, causing people to be apprehensive towards the power companies have over it, regardless of country or region. Data controllers and data handlers are responsible to ensure that such information can be handled securely.
O: Take a company that is not abundant with data. Would Supahands still be relevant to such a company given how there is not much data to clean up?
G: We provide data mining and data collection services for companies as such. Having sufficient data is essentially crucial to start a business.
O: Do you think AI is capable of substituting human beings in the future?
G: Most developments are technology driven (take the industrial and agricultural revolution for example). New technology is inevitably ahead of us but there will be other elements that definitely requires human interaction which is something irreplaceable. If anything, AI allows for more convenience to human beings.
O: Where do you see AI and machine learning technologies growing into over the next 5 years?
G: AI has the potential to improve general user experience in the near future. People are expecting more personalised experiences rather than businesses targeting them with generic and irrelevant messages. AI and machine learning technologies are really gearing towards helping businesses appeal to their audience with a more personal touch.
O: What future directions does Supahands plan to follow in terms of the AI/machine learning technology used?
G: We will go in the direction that is required from the market. We are currently focused on data cleaning and training. We aim to incorporate API into our data tools to process all information digitally.
O: Any final takeaway for our readers?
G: Something that Mark Koh, our CEO and co-founder would say:
“Our digital universe is reaching new thresholds everyday, with the 44 trillion GB of data that we will copy and create annually by 2020. Used and understood correctly, clean data gives us the power to unlock insights into our customers, clients and users that we never had access to before.”
Want to know more about how data and market intelligence can boost your business? Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be in touch!
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