The Future of Data Visualization

By Raz Kaplan

1.17.2022 twitter linkedin facebook

Growing Data = Longer Total Time to Insight

Taking and making sense of our data is critical to every part of the organization. Life has become increasingly digital, with data collected from touchpoints such as personal devices and edge sensors resulting in new challenges for organizations needing to interpret this data, as well as the professionals themselves tasked with the hands-on job.

And, even before this, there is the continual challenge of taking massive and growing data stores, analyzing them, and providing insights comprehendible to non-data people. For sure, GPU analytics can help – on the cloud, on-prem (hybrid cloud), and at the edge (tribrid), cutting time on ingestion and analysis, over complex and ad-hoc queries, and consequently, decreasing total time to insight.  

Data Visualization: Then and Now

The visualization of data has evolved throughout history – ancient maps, astronomical charts, timeline charts… all presented data in a format that was meant to make it easier to comprehend.

Today, data visualization tools and technology range from the basic to the incredibly complex, from the tool that gets the job done to the tool which provides an almost immersive experience to the user. One of the most popular tools on the market, Google Data Studio takes a no-frills approach to data, enabling its conversion into dashboards and reports. Part of the suite of Google Analytics and GCP, this no-code no-cost solution is an online tool that is both modifiable and shareable. Google Data Studio aims to be a one-stop-shop for marketers, business owners, and other data stakeholders, providing them with a fast way to make better, more effective business decisions, and ultimately, increase ROI. Another big plus? The learning curve is minimal, and you do not need to be a data scientist to use this. For the organization looking for an immediate, no-cost option with all the basics, Google Data Studio is a good place to begin. 

Another well-known option is Tableau, which bills itself as an analytics platform that helps people “see and understand data” through graph visualizations and reporting.  As with Google Data Studio, Tableau also offers easy collaboration and sharing, and is applicable across industries. Tableau’s live and in-memory data capabilities, and geospatial mapping including heat maps, flow maps, spider maps, and others make it an ideal choice for organizations reliant on time-critical insights for operational and business efficiency. Built for large amounts of data and multiple scripting languages, Tableau is a user-friendly option for real-time analytics that easily integrates with numerous other apps and solutions. 

Taking Real-Time Analytics to a New Level – Let’s Get Visual

As our ability to analyze growing data stores has evolved, it has moved from more primitive forms of infrastructure such as the spreadsheets, charts, and graphs mentioned above, to new domains of dynamic, RT data visualization. The ability to adopt visual tools to quickly detect and assess data patterns, trends, and anomalies, and make appropriate operations and business decisions based on them, plays an integral role in optimizing processes.

What is great about the growing reliance on visual data presentation is that it is often easier for stakeholders to digest, especially as things move into the realm of AR / VR. Imagine a telco operator with millions of subscribers marrying geospatial data showing antennas, cells, and layers, and being able to take their metrics and visualize them spatially, in real-time, to identify where and when performance is faltering.

For many organizations, this new approach to visualization has gone from being a nice-to-have to being a must-have. We know every new tech has its growing pains, and while it may take some time for VR / AR to fully mature, we are excited by what we see. Let’s take a look at some of the visualization solutions helping make real-time analytics a reality.

The Future of Data Visualization

As with all content, data ‘storytelling’ is where analytics are headed. With better stories come greater comprehension. Flow Immersive emphasizes the ability to increase the engagement of stakeholders through unique visual presentations of data even on mobile (and TikTok!). The solution utilizes several methods, one of which is AR video, to present data in a more integrative approach. As they ask on their website, “How do you transform your data from a boring series of graphs into a rich, deep understanding in the minds of your audience and team?” XR, AR, VR – Flow Immersive has its hands in it all, and the data practitioner who wants to be on the cutting edge of tech would do well to check it out. The flack from the traditional viz world is real. #datanerd #datastorytelling #data #flowimmersive ♬ original sound – Michael DiBenigno

Another interesting option, enterprise-focused Virtualitics (bio-tech, defense and industry 4.0) integrates AI and data visualization. It touts itself as an augmented analytics company that provides end-to-end integration of data sources and predictive AI analytics for a holistic view of data. Virtualitics Immersive platform provides analytics in 3D (including geospatial), while Virtualitics Predict uses ML techniques to analyze historical data and predict outcomes. Their aim, they say, is to make data more “visual, collaborative and actionable.”

vr analytics view - virtualitics immersive platform

A third option, LLamaZOO calls itself a “spatial business intelligence platform.” LlamaZOO puts data in context by transforming it into a 3D presentation. Hidden and siloed data is included in this visualization, offering a deeper understanding to data stakeholders. The aggregation and visualization platform provides the ability to transform charts, graphs and other data into a 1:1 scale digital mirroring of a project site or facility, to allow the presentation of data in a single view, enabling effective collaboration and sharing of data, with better understanding of its meaning. 

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As Data Grows, Storytelling Seeps and Tech Evolves… 

As our data stores continue to explode, analytics practitioners will find themselves faced with the growing challenge of making things understandable to business / organizational stakeholders. Storytelling will likewise continue to seep into the fabric of everyday communications. As a result of both these, and as technology evolves, we will see tools providing an increasingly realistic, immersive visualization of data becoming the day-to-day norm.   

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