Knoema is setting out to change how we look at big data

Data dumps are great, but without expensive teams or machines, interpreting it can prove difficult

Technology trends and news by Josiah Motley
April 5, 2017
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Big data is changing the world. We're collecting more data now than ever before, with those amounts getting larger every day. But with all of this data around us, it is becoming increasingly difficult to actually make sense of any of it. Unless you have an infinite bankroll or huge teams dedicated to interpreting the data, it is absolutely useless. That's where a company such as Knoema comes in.

Think of Knoema as a search engine for big data. It crawls public and private data silos and dumps to aggregate and visualize data in almost any field.

"What we do in Knoema is we collect the data from thousands of sources and process it to make it easily discoverable and accessible. The main challenge here is not to just find the data, as agencies and government organizations produce a large amounts of it, but to retrieve it from its original form - as it can be hidden in countless tables in PDFs, spreadsheets, proprietary data access systems, all kinds of formats - and reorganize it into the structure you could easily browse, analyze and ask questions in natural language to get insights. We aggregate datasets on all kinds of topics and regularly update them as new data appears, so analysts save thousands of work hours and get everything they need in a single place," states CEO and co-founder of Knoema, Vladimir Bougay.

It alleviates much of the personnel hours needed to interpret what this large amount of data is trying to say, and even helps make connections that may have been unrealized prior. You can actually go on Knoema at any time and start browsing some of their compiled data, even searching for your own, but if you want the full power of their service, they have paid plans available that really showcase what the company can do.

There is the basic Premium Plan which can be used by individuals or teams to gain more access to data, that also allows for easy exporting and the ability to interject your own data into gathered materials. There is also a education version for students (free) and schools (paid). For students, they will have access to millions of visuals on over 1,000 topics. Schools will gain access to dedicated data and content collection that is catered to the university or professor's curriculum.

These features are great, but what many of you will find more interesting is what Knoema is calling their "Data Room." This is basically a service that helps make sense of big data in an effort to best serve your business. They work with you to find relevant data and then provide all of that data in an easily digestible format to your business. Knoema then sets up a white-label solution that is supported by the data collected.

All of this comes together to provide you and your business with an in-depth understanding of your customers and potential customers. This data can be used to make important decisions based on fact, instead of gut feelings and guesses. Granted, many enterprise level businesses are already doing this, but are they doing it efficiently?

As Bougay puts it, "[...] getting that data isn’t simple, and hours of time wasted every week by information workers on searching, scraping, normalizing and visualizing data they need for preparing reports, doing analysis and decision making. A typical company may have dozens of internal databases and external data subscriptions available through a diverse crowd of the applications and websites. As a result, just in the US businesses waste billions every year. IDG estimated, that enterprises invested an average of $13.8M each in data analytics in 2015."