Category Archives: Visualisations

Making Public Service BIG with #BigData

3 Months back while the world was watching, amidst much hype, a new government announced its success with a lot of promise to one and all.

One of those promises was that of minimum government, maximum governance. This statement is as audacious as much as it’s succinct. The new government promises to reinvent public service, making it more efficient, introducing transparency and steadier and sustainable growth. With a government more tech-embracing than ever and the advent of fingertip technology to the people, a lot can be hoped. How much is achieved is yet to be seen.

To solve a problem, knowing the problem clearly is the key. This key is held by the huge loads of Data that we have hidden in the organizational silos of our government. At Gramener, we attempt to solve this problem through richer, better data-driven insights, making it available to the common Joe. The advent of Big Data in today’s world is not unknown. Big Data is a term that everyone is using today. From board rooms to college canteens, it’s now become the buzz in the more privileged world.

Making Public Service Big With Big Data

Fraud Detection

Some stats to put the problem at hand in perspective:

$314 billion is what India loses from tax evasion annually, depriving it of funds for investment in roads, ports and power.7 With so little revenue, the government must borrow more to fund a planned $1 trillion five-year infrastructure program.

$462 Billion is what India lost due to tax evasion, crime and corruption post-Independence.

Click here to see more on govt. spending.

The more startling fact is that this money is not only from the big-scale frauds that we read about in the dailies. Small, unreported frauds add up and form such bizarre numbers.

What if we could track these numbers to their last rupee like in the financial services industry? What if we could have systems to detect irregularities in each micro-transaction? Government should invest in the infrastructure to capture data from all corners of the government machinery to one place. Read about how the UK govt saved 33bn a year using Big Data Analytics.

How about Internal Security?

CCTV footages, RFIDs and scanner machines and other electronic data, although unstructured but when used with deftness, Wirelessly intercepted information, Internet browsing activities can really help extract useful information for analyses to detect crime, terrorist activities and tracking wrongdoers faster and easier and way more efficient.

Law enforcement agencies need to adapt to such practices for the greater good. This requires a conscious effort towards skill acquisition, training etc but it’s worth the effort.

Public Services

Ever thought of filling that form for your PAN-Card purely online and getting it at your doorstep without hassles. Ever wondered what it means to get updates about that skywalk in your neighbourhood, its status real-time on that smartphone like your Facebook notification.  With multiple sources of data and your details integrated into one place, your updates, services can be more and more personal.

Will there be a time when we realize the above is not a hypotheses alone? Lets hope our governments realize it soon. Watch this space out for some more thoughts on how having the data is the new necessity.

What the World is looking for

Why is Andre AgassiLarge scale sociological research has never been this easy. Google’s search suggestions are based on what people search for on their search engine. This can be a fairly good reflection of what people are currently interested in, making it a powerful tool for research. (You could also save these results and look at them over time to see trends in these preferences, but that’s a topic for a different day..)

So, to learn what questions people are asking about Andre Agassi, just go to Google’s search box and type “Why is Andre Agassi” and wait for a second. (People want to know why he’s famous, why he’s bald, why he broke up with Brooke Shields, and why he wore a wig.)

Or, to see what India is interested in learning, just type “How to” on google.co.in and you’ll find – perhaps to your surprise – that Indians want to learn:

  • how to kiss
  • how to lose weight
  • how to download youtube videos
  • how to get pregnant (clearly less important than kissing well)

Search for How to on Google India

On the other hand, the UK wants to know

  • how to make loom bands (but why?)
  • how to lose weight
  • how to make pancakes (which may not be a good idea if  you want to lose weight)
  • how to write a cv

Search for How to on Google UK

The US wants to learn

  • how to train your dragon 2 (that’s the animated film)
  • how to tie a tie
  • how to hard boil eggs
  • how to lose weight

Search for How to on Google US

What’s clear is that people of all three nations have losing weight as one of their top 4 priorities, but vary quite a bit in their preferences otherwise.

At Gramener, we put together a compilation of the search results for common questions.

Search for questions on Google

There are several nuggets in here. The world is generally curious about why Salman Khan is not married, and why he’s not in jail. But the preference and order of questions varies from country to country.

Why is Salman Khan

Focus on inventions vary a lot across regions too. Indians are the only ones who seem concerned about who invented zero. For the British, football comes ahead of the Internet and Electricity.

Who invented

You can explore these are more at https://gramener.com/search/

If you find any interesting query patterns please let us know either in the comments below or via Twitter. We’ll add it here.

Solving Humanity With Data Science

Part 01 – The beginning

a perfect world

In the book, A Song of Ice and Fire, George R.R. Martin says “Summer will end soon enough, and childhood as well”. The quote has an impending truth to it, almost as if he is warning us of a dark end to humanity itself. Since the beginning of time, man has faced adversity in myriad forms, from the whimsical destructions of nature to the test of time itself. The most potent enemy that man has had, however, is himself. Civilization has helped us grow out of the wild hunters that we were, into a species who are capable of designing complex systems like money, transportation, politics and even send ourselves to outer space. We as a species have explored and exploited our world, created cities with remarkable architectures and invented concepts overtime that would have baffled our ancestors. Why is George R.R. Martin then, warning us of an imminent and dark danger? Why can’t we, humans, who are capable of anything, create a perfect world to live in, a utopia? The truth is, we can’t, because we’re a troubled species and a very profane enemy lurks in our system; as the proverb “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link” elegantly summarizes.

The society that we’ve evolved into today has some serious social flaws, including Gender bias, Poverty, Crime, Resource scarcity and I could go on. On December 16, 2012, a heinous act by a few individuals in abusing and causing a girl’s death saw a nation protest in unison. These crimes are the weak links that scar our society, tumours that terrify the innocent, and incidents that make humanity very far away from creating a perfect world. Barely two years since, on July 02, 2014, a six year old child was abused in a school, an innocent childhood that probably ended too soon. Society is ridden with such problems, problems that bring us down every time we showcase our achievements, problems that ridicule our very being. These problems though, aren’t new, they have a very human element to them – Anger, Greed, Lust, and the like. In some sense, religion has an answer to these weaknesses of mankind. At Gramener, Science is our religion, and we introspect today, if one of our greatest achievements (Science) can create a perfect world.

Science is a methodical system, it’s a study of nature’s behaviour and can be quantified by numbers. Science helps us create models with the help of numbers and equations to represent and answer some of the most complex questions that we have ever faced in our history. We have to use this, our greatest strength, to try and solve the issues that are inhibiting us from evolving into a higher, and more civilized species. The numbers that I talk about, the numbers which can quantify situations and systems, is nothing but data. There is data, hidden everywhere, in our world today. Data about people, data about weather, data about transactions, data about what people are thinking on online media, data everywhere. This burst of data has been a natural evolution of the Internet, one of mankind’s greatest achievements. Can these numbers that are everywhere, help us look at a story that is hidden from the naked eye? Can these numbers help us identify patterns of human failures? Can we scientifically provide a solution that can solve humanity?