Are Real-Time Web-Like Analytics Invading “Real” (AKA Physical) World?

How many people? Photo by _dChris

It’s a common debate at protests and other large gatherings of people — how many people are there? The organizers tend to inflate the number. The opponents tend to deflate it. The cops, supposedly, give a real estimate. But what if the cops are the opposition?

A new technology promises to provide real-time web-like analytics of people gathered in the physical world — by tracking mobile phone signals. This does have rather spooky implications (scary ones if the cops truly are the opposition), but it is interesting. And it has, according to the company, loads of business and marketing applications (think retail, as one example).

This from Israel21c, a news service that publishes information on innovative technologies being developed in Israel. It’s newsworthy today as there have been huge protests in Israel over rising housing prices. Thanks, BTW, to my friend Isabel Maxwell who told me about Israel21c some years ago.

Dr. Erez Weinroth, who received his Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, came up with the innovative technology known as ‘trendIT – People Analytics‘ that develops real time demographics solutions using mobile derived signals.

According to the company’s website, “trendIT’s technology implements sophisticated algorithms and models on cellular network data. The platform engine generates real-time data with unrivaled efficiency, providing users with comprehensive, accurate, and up-to-date information.”

The technology deciphered the crowds in Tel Aviv yesterday – showing, in real time, how many protesters were on the streets, where they came from and what socio-economic status they represented.

According to trendIT, the climax of the protest was at 10:45 p.m. when there were 280,000 people on the streets of Tel Aviv. Of them, only 39 percent were Tel Aviv residents while the rest of the demonstrators came from nearby cities of Givatayim, Ramat Gan, Rishon Lezion and Petach Tikva.

It sounds a lot like the info one can get  in real time on how a website or mobile app is performing.  At Rassak we use both the free  Google Analytics and the premium Act-On Software product (Act-On is a customer of ours). We get visitors from all over the world, but here is a semi-detailed view, from Google Analytics, of where our California  visitors are coming from. visitors from California

How does one use and benefit from the data? Lots of interesting ways? But that’s for another post.

BTW… here are a couple other posts on analytics. I like the Coldplay one, if I says so myself  : – )

BTW BTW… the “real” in the title of this post is in quotes because what happens on the web is real too… so it’s an odd distinction. No?

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