Data is a strategic asset that has made an indelible impact on the way we do business. These days, customer acquisition and retention largely depends on businesses anticipating their customers’ needs so well that they can win their hearts and minds with ease – and data analytics allows this to take place at the deepest level.
The whole process is so ubiquitous that you probably don’t even notice it any more. We no longer need to browse millions of movies to get the kind of entertainment we like; our Netflix preferences can suggest the movies we should watch in the future. When we book holidays online, the booking engine helpfully leverages our destination and purchase options to predict our tastes in future and market to them accordingly.
But data on its own has limited use. For data to live up to its reputation as a powerful asset and efficiency generator, we need to apply artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) techniques to expose the patterns, connections and insights that lie just beneath the surface.
At CoreLogic, AI and ML are intrinsic to our operational excellence. Every day, we value more than nine million residential properties – a process that consumes 100 billion decision points, encompassing the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, land area, neighbour identity, geographic density, and proximity factors, as well as recent sales transactions. All of this can be completed in two and a half hours.
Similarly, our best-of-breed automated valuation model uses ML to estimate the value of every residential property across Australia in four hours. These valuation solutions serve over 10,000 customers, including government, banking and fi nance and research, as well as informing millions of consumers each year about the value of their largest asset. Without the aid of ML and AI, these tasks would take an army of humans many years to complete.
It’s not just big business that is harnessing the superpowers of data harvesting. Smart speakers, such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa, are making their way into the modern household. These devices, powered by some of the biggest leaders in ML, are coupled with home automation hubs that can enable almost every electrical appliance to be controlled through voice. Amazon’s Alexa now has a user base of more than 31 million users.
These devices are starting to bridge the divide between our virtual worlds and our physical footprint. But it comes at a cost, which is why consumers must demand high standards in terms of privacy, security, use and longevity of the data we provide. Whether we like it or not, data is here to stay. Having stringent regulation will build much-needed stakeholder trust and simultaneously allow organisations that can successfully capture, analyse and commercialise data to flourish.
Lisa Claes is the CEO of CoreLogic International, the world’s largest property data and analytics company