The Secret to Rapidly Competing in Your Industry
December 15, 2013 • Tony Frazier
The following interview is with Tony Frazier and is from our Web Intelligence Perspectives Series. Tony Frazier is Senior Vice President of marketing and insight at DigitalGlobe.
What is it about Web intelligence that is such an important opportunity to you?
Commercial satellite imagery is now collected at a level of resolution and accuracy that allows us to model the physical earth in entirely new ways. For example, DigitalGlobe’s ImageLibrary contains data for over four billion square kilometers of land mass which means on average we have over 25 time stamped images on-hand for any location on the planet.
Traditionally our capabilities have been used to provide unclassified imagery intelligence to the military and enable the growth of online mapping. Satellites can capture a record of our physical geography by capturing imagery from space. Web intelligence can help provide a record of human activity from content shared over the internet. Fusing physical and human geography can unlock tremendous insights that can save lives, resources, and time.
What drives the interest in Web intelligence in your community? What hole in your world does it fill?
A recent study from the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) estimated there has been $2.5 trillion in economic losses from natural disasters since 2000. We know human tragedy and economic loss tied to extreme weather are going to happen, we just don’t know when or where.
Our FirstLook service rapidly collects satellite imagery in response to natural disasters and other major events to help our government and commercial customers visualize change and monitor recovery. We are on pace to activate well over 100 FirstLook events in 2013. Web intelligence could help us identify emerging events of interest to refine our FirstLook imagery collection planning efforts and monitor the Web to provide ongoing perspective for these locations around the world.
What does a critical insight from Web intelligence look like?
I think critical insights allow people to make timely decisions to gain a competitive advantage. DigitalGlobe aspires to become an indispensable source of information about our changing planet. To realize this vision we need to not only see change but understand it. Web intelligence can help rapidly quantify loss, identify organizations whose operations are disrupted, and surface indicators of recovery.
What is your vision for how Web intelligence could be used?
I started my career at Bain & Company where I learned the value of bringing a data-driven approach to strategic decision making. After business school, I transitioned into the enterprise software industry where I spent the bulk of my time developing products that attempted to make sense of the growing volumes of unstructured enterprise content.
I was drawn to this technology because I could really appreciate the power of distilling lots of documents, presentations, and videos into actionable insights.
The web is such a dynamic, rich resource that it can be an incredibly valuable source of intelligence if properly distilled. We see a bit of this today when we receive media alerts or other push notifications. At DigitalGlobe we think of everything from a geospatial perspective. Waze, which is a company who provides a community based GPS and tracking mobile app (who was recently acquired by Google), is targeting ads dynamically based on an understanding of one’s location and destination.
Why can’t relevant Web intelligence find people as they use maps to provide a deeper understanding of a place?
Looking ahead, will Web intelligence become a standard piece of tradecraft in your community? Will it “go viral”?
I certainly hope so. However, to become a standard in the mapping and geospatial industry Web intelligence must be consistent, spatially accurate, and integrated into key workflows.