Space-Time Insight Takes Predictive Analytics to the Next Level

By Adena Schutzberg

Predictive analytics is a fancy phrase for predicting the future. The better the prediction, the better a business or government agency can react to that future. Space-Time Insight refers to monitoring past and current data to make those predictions as “situational intelligence.” That intelligence is built from the combination of many data streams originating from a variety of sources, from physical sensors (like leak detectors) to social media (such as Tweets). Space-Time Insight’s goal is a system that puts all that intelligence and the resulting predictions into the hands of everyone within an organization who needs them.

The company is most pleased with an implementation at Hydro One, the Toronto-based electricity provider for Ontario, Canada. Like many of its peers, the organization is dealing with aging infrastructure. The challenge is finding a realistic plan to swap out old assets for new ones, even as the power continues to flow and the company continues to make money. The Space-Time Insight solution, implemented by Accenture in the third quarter of 2012, brings together data about the assets (their health, location, age and more) and its customers (their demands, locations, etc.) That, in turn, helps staff determine which assets must be updated now and which can wait a few months or even longer. A portal (what most people in the business intelligence community would call a dashboard) organizes windows of data in different visualizations: maps, charts and more all keyed to the current state of the dataset and all symbolized in a standard way.

Hydro One sees two main benefits. First, the company is saving money by avoiding catastrophic failures due to old infrastructure breaking unexpectedly. Second, the software tools are providing the framework for a long-term plan of attack to make the upgrades in a logical fashion that manages costs and customer needs across the project’s duration.
The latest version of the Space-Time Insight product set, 4.0, takes the core idea of the original, brought to market in 2008, to the next level. While the goal is still using historical and current data to predict the future across time, space and the nodes of a network, the solution is geared to the demands of 2013 including: 
  • Quicker visualizations via smart software that gets big data to screen quickly and access to the details only when needed (akin to scale dependent display)
  • Support for hundreds of data types and integration with other enterprise systems including SAP BW
  • Better support for individualized portals so that users can dynamically rearrange their analytics desktop, “tear off” individual windows, and set preferences that define the behavior of the software tools. And, they can save geographic areas for use in future analyses (akin to geospatial bookmarks or saved areas of interest).
  • Enhanced security means barriers can be set up at the system, application and user levels. An enhanced auditing tool keeps track of user actions and access to different areas of the implementation.
While the military may have been the original source for the term situational awareness, Space-Time Insight wants to own the horizontal space of situational intelligence for utilities and a variety of enterprises across the public and private sector.

Published Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Written by Adena Schutzberg

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