BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Apr 18, 2017

Using Real-Time Data Insights & Monitoring

Leo Furlong Posted by Leo Furlong

Utilizing real-time streaming tools, such as the Azure IoT Hub or Event Hub, can give organizations quick insights into their data and allow for more accurate and quick decision making. In this post, I will highlight some real-time streaming solution examples, as well as the business value gained by their implementation. 

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Real-time Application Insights

In our first example, let’s consider a company that provides a web or mobile application to its internal or external customers. By adding just a few simple lines of streaming code, data can easily be sent asynchronously to Azure. With this code, key application events such as logins, daily usage, or even new data entries are streamed in real time to Azure where you will be able to perform real-time analysis, apply machine learning, or send alerts to key members of your team.

Continuing with the examples above, some key actions that may add value for your team include:

  1. Email or SMS Text Notifications: Send a notification to a customer who still has items in their shopping cart, with details on what they added during their last visit to the website.
  2. Recommendations Engine: Send a follow-up email to your internal team or customers – running data through a machine learning model with a recommendations engine to provide just that, recommendations on correlated products or services.
  3. Missed Sales Opportunities: Real-time streaming can be set up to determine missed sales opportunities due to low inventory or product issues. Someone can then take immediate corrective action to prevent further profit loss.
  4. Leads on High-Value Products/Services: Internal alerts or workflows can be triggered based on product interest. If a customer is looking for a highly-valued product, or an item/service with a high margin, a sales team member can get a text message or email with suggested actions.
  5. Fraud Detection: If your application accepts coupons, you can even begin checking for fraud in real time. When a coupon code is used multiple times in the same location or with the same IP address, a general manager can get an alert to the problem.

Real-Time Monitoring

There are many real-time machines, devices, equipment, and gateways that already exist or are being deployed in operations and that have been outfitted with sensors. Additionally, there are many that have been approved for Azure IoT! You can check out the full list here.

As mentioned earlier, a small amount of code is added to your device so that the device's sensor and telemetry data can be sent to Azure. Azure is an amazing tool in that it can ingest data from thousands of devices simultaneously and in real time. Through this process, Azure can provide the following benefits:

  • Basic threshold detection
  • Real-time alerts
  • Machine learning model building with big data and deployment for real-time detection
  • Device management, state, tracking, and firmware updates
  • Remote control of devices by utilizing two-way communication

Business Scenarios

Next, we will explore some business use-case scenarios to show a few real-life examples of how organizations are taking advantage of device connectivity, shown below.

Manufacturing
Let’s say a manufacturing firm is using stationary asset monitoring and utilizing sensors on its equipment to monitor air temperature, vibrations, changes in the product environment, etc. In this scenario, the organization could use this data to monitor their equipment for any potential failures. If or when a potential failure event is detected through thresholds or Machine Learning code, the device can automatically be triggered to shut down via Azure and an alert can be sent to the management team.

Fleet Management
In this case, buses, trucks, cars, and planes can be outfitted with GPS devices and sensors to monitor engine temperature, revolutions per minute, accelerations, braking velocity, fuel use, etc. Management can then use this data to check for and track reckless driving, utilization of fleet, and can create plans to increase asset utilization.

Process Management
In a retail setting, a company can use data in many ways, including tracking inventory RFID tags, arrival times and distribution at queues, scan rates, and even detecting theft. By utilizing this data, a brick and mortar store can improve its customer satisfaction rates with workforce management optimization – having the right people available to its customers at the right place and the right time. Additionally, with this kind of data monitoring, real-time inventory analysis can happen almost instantaneously.

In short, there are almost endless ways that real-time streaming solutions can be useful to an organization. If you have questions or want to learn more about how to stream data in real time, consider checking out BlueGranite’s upcoming webinar on the topic! Additionally, we are happy to help, so if you’d like to speak with one of our advanced analytics experts, contact us.

Creating Streaming Solutions Using Azure Webinar
Leo Furlong

About The Author

Leo Furlong

Leo is a Solution Architect at BlueGranite. He has vast knowledge of the BI tool space and has extensive experience in self-service BI, performance management, OLAP, ETL, reporting and database methodologies.