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You Don’t Need Big Data — You Need the Right Data

So often we read about BIG DATA being the new area to look at in business. This article makes for interesting reading - 

How does this apply to the shipping and commodity world?

A good example of this is AIS data. It is all well and good having access to the whereabouts of the world's fleet of vessels. We can spot them, see which vessel it is, see where it's been, even see where it is going but it appears after that the value in it - in its raw form - dissipates.

Without additional layers of information to supplement the AIS raw data one can not really build up a 'value add' for business.

So what examples are there of businesses that have applied the 'right data'?

OPIS's Tanker Tracker services are a good example. Here they apply AIS data in conjunction with Fleetmon. Add layers of specific market knowledge brought about via industry knowledge, contacts and application and OPIS have now brought clarity to the once opaque Jet, Diesel and Gasoline markets of Northern Europe and beyond. Their data also starts to provide a tool to bring some clarity to the ever present question for trades - what's going to happen in the future - a highly valuable asset. 

At G-ports they currently provide a picture of all exports of coal, ore and agri product commodities from the major ports worldwide. Their granularity of data is far in excess of and considerably more timely than waiting for the official statistics on exports to be published by Trade Export Organisations. 

Their next release will involve live monitoring of exports versus producer's published yearly targets. Are producers going to miss, meet or exceed 'the street's' expectations?

In addition, and soon to be released, through the application of their network of agents and availability of lineup data, they will be able to provide data regarding vessel supply in the different basins - Atlantic + Pacific. In short they'll be able to give an insight into whether dry cargo freight rates could rise/fall in the future. As per OPIS's offering - a nugget of information that could be invaluable to freight and commodity traders alike.

 AIS data can provide us with information on vessel port calls around the world but this is only a part of the story. What it can't show you is the detail of the vessel port call. It can't show you what time the pilot boarded the vessel or when loading/discharging started, stopped, continued let alone why the loading/discharging started/stopped. This is the information that is more of use in analysing a vessel and/or the port's performance with a view to being able to analyse where improvements could be made, deriving a strategy to improve them, implementing it and then re-measuring the data.

Part of Falmor's vision is to enable this. Through the analysis of all the Statement of Facts that it is building up on its database it will provide analysis tools and data that will enable all ports, terminals, pilots, tugs, ship owners, operators and charterers to analyse the 'big data' of port performance in relation to how they could improve their business. It will also enable clients to analyse and measure the results of their business improvement strategies going forwards.

AIS data is BIG - but it does need other layers of information to actually bring about data that is useful for a business.