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How an innovative mobile app uses location to track events

Bernard Golden | Aug. 27, 2015
In Part 2 of his series on Innovation and the Cloud, writer Bernard Golden looks at how the ability to detect events by parsing information organized by location rather than individuals could be a game changer for any number of different industries.

Well, as I noted, early subscribers are news organizations that integrate information turned up by Banjo into their existing news offerings. However, I think that is only the first, incremental use of Banjo. After all, what the existing organization does is feed Banjo information into a system laden with expenses associated with physical locations, filming and sound equipment, and high-priced talent. There’s nothing stopping a couple of individuals from doing reporting based on Banjo feeds from the comfort of their spare bedroom. 

Moreover, right now the feeds have to be mined to fit into the constraints of the new organization programming – topic type, time limitations and so on. An innovative “two person and a dog” organization could focus much more in-depth on specialized topics it has expertise in, and broadcast it over real-time YouTube, paid for by online ads. 

A small news organization could find such an operation profitable enough to build a business. All of a sudden, the advantages of the establishment news organization – size, physical assets, high-priced talent – become liabilities, high-cost activities with little advantage over the cheap-and-cheerful online operation. And this isn’t even to mention opportunities further afield – real-time reports on music events, conventions, etc. 

But I think the opportunities associated with news pale in comparison with where the really big opportunity lies – finance. In a field in which milliseconds mean money, Banjo’s ability to identify important events 30 or more minutes before anyone is aware of them offers enormous opportunity for financial firms. 

To show the power of getting important financial information early, recall the seemingly apocryphal tale of how the Rothschilds profited from Napoleon’s Waterloo defeat by learning of it via pigeon before everyone else got the news. In fact, a feature in Inc. magazine piece gave an example of Banjo learning of an oil fire well before oil traders; someone monitoring Banjo could evaluate how the fire will affect the oil market and move early to benefit from price moves. 

Compared to the financial services industry, the news business is an accountant’s rounding error. Finance is a multi-trillion dollar industry that thrives on how events affect asset values. Banjo holds the potential to provide early insight and will be worth an immense amount of money for anyone seeking temporal advantage for investing opportunity. 

Naturally, Banjo runs all its technology in the cloud. The volume of feeds, and the computation to analyze them, is enormous. As you can imagine, the feeds associated with an important event can spike the information flow of a particular grid location by a factor of 10,000 in a matter of minutes. Trying to accommodate that with a fixed pool of infrastructure would be completely unworkable. So cloud computing turns an unworkable technology into something that can be implemented, and allows the innovator (Banjo) to focus on creating a new offering, and thereby disrupting an established value chain. 


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