David Kirkpatrick

January 26, 2010

Predictive analytics can help beat a tight economy

Filed under: Business — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:16 pm

Customers are a precious commodity and the business climate is rough. Just the time for some of those specialized tools from the biz toolbox. Not to get too buzz-wordy, but predictive analytics gets very granular when parsing incoming data about your business. Of course you need to have a business that takes in a fair amount of information about customers,  markets, competitors, etc. to even begin to apply predictive analytics.

From the link:

Traditional business intelligence (BI) might point you in a direction, but predictive analytics aims to uncover a treasure map, says David White, a senior research analyst at Aberdeen Group. That’s because BI identifies relationships between a few data points, while predictive analytics evaluates how many factors work together. BI vendors are now offering predictive analytics tools that used to be available only from niche vendors such as SAS and SPSS.

White knows of a department store chain using predictive analytics to formulate more profitable coupon campaigns by targeting the right customers. If a store sends a coupon to a customer who was going to make a purchase anyway, the store is no further ahead. But send the same coupon to a shopper who wouldn’t have otherwise come in, and you’ve made money, White says.

November 5, 2009

Protecting your privacy when using search engines

Sounds like a useful tool in this world of massive data collection by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and many others.

The release:

A new system preserves the right to privacy in Internet searches

IMAGE: A new system preserves the right to privacy in Internet searches.

Click here for more information.

 

A team of Catalan researchers has developed a protocol to distort the user profile generated by Internet search engines, in such a way that they cannot save the searches undertaken by Internet users and thus preserve their privacy. The study has been published in the Computer Communications magazine.

Just imagine someone from Company X who uses the Google search engine to obtain information about a certain technology. If Company Y, a competitor of X, should discover this situation, it could infer that the abovementioned technology is going to be used in X’s new products, and with that information it could obtain a competitive edge. In the same way, a mass media enterprise that finds out the searches undertaken by the competition’s journalists could infer what news items they are working on and beat them to it. A personal report could also be drawn up on someone based on their searches.

In order to solve these types of situations, a team of researchers from three Catalan universities (the Rovira i Virgili University, the Autónoma of Barcelona and the Oberta of Catalonia) has developed a system which preserves user privacy via a new computer protocol, whose details are published in the Computer Communications magazine.

“It is a model based on cryptographic tools which distort the profile of users when they use search engines on Internet”, explains Alexandre Viejo to SINC. He is one of the authors of the study and a researcher at the Computer Engineering Department of the Rovira i Virgili University, “in such a way that their privacy is preserved”.

Search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft Live search save the profiles of their users (via an analysis of the searches they undertake) with the argument that they are more familiar with their interests and offer a more efficient response.

There currently exist types of software which provide anonymous navigation, such as the Tor network, but the new system “offers a clear improvement in response time”. Nevertheless, Alexandre Viejo acknowledges that the application of the protocol delays searches slightly, “but it can be perfectly assumed by the user”.

The tool prototype has already been tried in closed (research centre intranets) and open (internet) environments, “and the results allow us to be optimistic with the global implementation of the model”. The researchers are now working on the development of a final user version and trust that it will soon be easily integrated into the main platforms and browsers.

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References:

Jordi Castellà-Roca, Alexandre Viejo, Jordi Herrera-Joancomartí. “Preserving user’s privacy in web search engines”. Computer Communications32 (13-14): 1541�, 2009.