Local artists are showcasing their work in Sandton City as part of Microsoft’s campaign to demonstrate how people and organisations can employ technology to transform big data into actionable insights for real life application.

Innovator and trend analyst Dion Chang points out that the world of the consumer is changing. With the use and analytical power of big data, consumers are able to redefine the way they engage with brands, companies and services.

Focusing on his most recent research findings in the retail sector, Chang says retailers no longer compete against their local, provincial or national competitors, but with global players. These global competitors are capable of quoting prices in local currencies and delivering products and services in the same timeframe as a local business is able to. To stay relevant to the customer, retail companies have to anticipate changes in buying patterns and product turnover by tapping into the power of big data.

The new Microsoft campaign is aimed at helping users to forget about the tech-jargon behind big data, and to imagine a world where everyone can be empowered through information and see the big picture behind all the data that is coming their way.

“Many people are talking about data becoming the new business currency,” says Kelly Husband, Microsoft South Africa’s data platform product marketing manager. “Trending terms like big data, Internet of Things and predictive analytics are all buzz words in the market but the essence of what we are seeing is really the importance of data – existing data, new data, new insights from data, faster insights from data, and predictive analysis from data.”

Vehicle tracking company Tracker uses Microsoft’s big data platforms to collect data from the 1-million vehicles in its network and transform it into information that is useful to drivers and other road stakeholders.

“With the use of already installed vehicle tracking devices, we are able to track the live movements of vehicles around the country, segmenting the data down to the side-streets of the city we can predict traffic issues, map traffic incidents and even help define the state of the roads. The possibilities are endless to help organisations like to improve the quality of our roads or reroute emergency services to help improve emergency response time,” says Wayne De Nobrega, CEO of Tracker South Africa.

“The impact that the analysis and understanding of the data on hand can have on business is already redefining the way businesses are operating in the country. Through the analysis and visualisation of the data, we have been able to effect change and impact the way we offer services to our customers and our partners.”

The artworks visualising the “big picture” will be open to the public in the Mr Price court at Sandton City until 3 July.