Big Data is one of those catchphrases that has been floating around the technology industry for years. The rise of smartphones has meant that companies can now collect tons of data every time someone checks into a place or conducts a search. But in many cases companies have little idea what to do with all of this data and how to process it.
HERE, however, has been building the technology backbone necessary to turn the promise of Big Data into proof. It starts by collecting and processing tons of location related data from both the physical and online worlds, including 17 billion probe points and 141 million routing requests each month. In fact Google is the only other company to collect and process such large quantities of location related data.
HERE isn’t just focused on collecting enormous volumes of data, but also on creating a learning platform that is taking in all of the location data collected to churn out useful information that helps people navigate their lives.
“Location is one area where more data matters,” said Nokia CEO Stephen Elop at a gathering of MIT students on Wednesday. “Maps are a critical element of our daily life and just something that touches every one of us multiple times a day.”
He explained that in the case of location data more matters because it can improve the quality of maps and identify changes quickly. But that HERE understands that it’s not just about more data, but relevant data.
In places like Boston where roads are already extensively mapped, real time probe data can reveal where cars aren’t driving. That could signal that the road has been closed off because of a construction or an event.
HERE also uses search data to understand where people are going and learn where people are going in real time. That can be useful for anyone that lands in a new city and wants to know where locals are really hanging out that night or if they want to avoid large crowds.
HERE also combines different data types such as weather conditions, holiday schedules and historical data to translate large amounts of data into useful insights. So HERE will be able to let people know that snow will add an extra hour to their commute so they can opt to take the train instead.
“That sort of mobility analytics is what really helps us continuously improve our product – and ultimately our user experience,” said Elop. “The more people who use it – the better the product becomes.”