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The US Air Force uses a complex system of radar and other data systems to monitor the skies above North America. It needs to identify within minutes if there is a threat — or just a flock of birds — and make quick decisions on what action to take.
Kinetica was born several years ago out of a project with the US Army and the Department of Homeland Security to track terrorist threats in real-time using over 200 data sources. The startup, which focuses on geospatial and temporal analysis in real-time and at a massive scale, managed to shave off minutes of the time it takes these organizations to make critical decisions.
The Kinetica database for Time & Space now helps organizations including Citibank and USPS with planning and decisions of a different kind. One of the complex business problems the company is addressing is the rollout of 5G. Mobile network operators (MNOs) can no longer rely on legacy tools that were used for 4G, because they lack the precision and granularity required for effective 5G planning. In many cases, MNOs were faced with time-consuming and expensive site visits before deciding where to place next-generation infrastructure.
Line-of-sight assessments are crucial for a good 5G signal.
“5G relies on line-of-sight to propagate the [radio frequency] signal and has relied on sending people out to do site surveys," explained Kinetica's VP of Business Development Samm DiStasio. “Instead, telcos can match a rich set of data showing trees, buildings and other points of interest to a database like ours to do some interesting analysis showing line-of-sight. Doing it this way cuts the time spent finding the right place for equipment dramatically."
“HERE data is part of the special sauce that makes the recipe work." — Samm DiStasio, VP of Business Development, Kinetica
Samm said data sets, including the network's own extensive data, works “like the gasoline in our engine" as far as Kinetica is concerned. Kinetica uses HERE data sets including speed limit information and other road network information to power its database. And the combination is working: Kinetica estimates their tools are 25,000 faster than legacy GIS systems and have been adopted by major providers.
“We are super fast," Samm said. “This is critical because you want speed, you want accuracy, you want real-time at different times in your application lifecycle. It is game-changing technology, but we need HERE data. HERE data is part of the special sauce that makes the recipe work."
“HERE is the most comprehensive, detailed and complete data set that's out there. There are other data sets, even open-sourced data sets, but you are not going to get those next-level pieces of information such as traffic or road closures with open-sourced data sets."
Kinetica has worked with MNOs including a top-three US carrier to get their infrastructure up and running. This in turn makes a huge difference to other sectors, since 5G has the power to transform fleet management and supply chain, to name just two industries. 5G can power technology that sends fast alerts to drivers warning them of obstacles ahead, promising safer roads and accelerating the progress of autonomous driving.
Data can help MNOs improve coverage of 5G on an ongoing basis.
But Kinetica's tools can also be used for ongoing benefits for the telecommunications industry, such as optimization of the service. For example, its rapid visualization and analysis of detailed network coverage data allow users to see in real-time if there are coverage issues. It can even be used to predict those customers that might be looking to switch providers, so they can be offered incentives to stay.
Using accurate and up-to-date data sets is essential to stay on top of infrastructure maintenance. Samm added: “The tree canopy changes over time, for example. You need unique data sources that continually update and have that level of detail to know that that oak tree is getting bigger and may pose an issue so that the MNOs can act. If you are not proactive about it, you lose customers."
“Data is the gasoline that runs our engine." — Samm DiStasio, VP Business Development, Kinetica
Companies from other sectors have also successfully used Kinetica, including a commercial bank that reduced the time it took to make queries from hours to seconds, and a large retailer that used Kinetica along with HERE data to choose the best sites for its new stores. A process that would normally take weeks was cut down to minutes with Kinetica.
Rick Tyler, Strategic Sales, Kinetica, said: “There are other areas we are working on, like fraud detection. smart factory or smart school systems, smart campuses, smart venues. We can monitor the crowd and visualize the campus, hospital or another venue to understand what's going on in real-time."