The Convergence Of Advanced Analytic, Big Data And 3-D Printing: Back to the Future

by May 5, 2015 0 comments
Pranab Chakraborty  is Associate Director and Global Delivery Executive for  Financial Sector –Canada, IBM.

Pranab Chakraborty, Associate Director and Global Delivery Executive for  Financial Sector –Canada, IBM.

Think about how our Grandma used to buy her jewelries. The neighborhood jeweler, who knows virtually everything about Grandma, her taste, need, budget, current stock, upcoming social occasions, would suggest to her the perfect customized options. The transaction was so tailored, one-to-one based on knowledge about her and her social surroundings.

Then came the age of mass production. Jewelries are produced for the masses (or at best towards a ‘customer segment’) based on market intelligence. It is no longer for The Grandma – she has to choose from set of product categories in the self Tough luck if none matches her taste.

With the advance of Analytics, Big Data and application of Advanced Analytics, the situation is poised for a paradigm shift. The retailer, even when Geographically separated, can again figure out The Grandma – by sniffing and connecting through myriads of information – structured and unstructured data about her and her social circles. As soon as her Grand-daughter’s status changes to ‘engaged’ in the FB, she will begin receiving the ‘designed-for-granddaughter’s marriage’ gift options!

Let us peel the technology landscape a little bit. With the proliferation of social media, interconnected intelligent devices and public information, we are seeing an exponential increase in the Volume, Velocity and Variety of Data – these ‘V’s are essence of the Big Data. So marrying the Big Data with advance analytical model, we are poised to succinctly predict the need of the Modern Grandma – even sitting from a far-away continent. We can also constantly learn, be more wise and knowledgeable about her taste and asks applying the essence of Cognitive Computing. We can bring to her the tailored product and services that she was ‘thinking’. And ideally create a profitable pricing model for the service provider as we can get way from pure cost-plus mass-market scenario – and tie it to the value or savings it brings to The Grandma.

So now we have figured out what a client wants at individual level , how to supply it to him/her? If it is a Digital Product, we can manufacture and ship via internet – pretty easy. But what about products made of Atoms – the customized gift Grandma wanted to ship to her Granddaughter? Could such single-order manufacturing and distribution be viable and cost effective? Fortunately the answer is becoming –Yes. The recent development of 3-D printing is now making such options a reality. The 3-D technology enables manufacturing of three-dimensional objects of any shape from a digital pattern. The 3-D printers are increasing becoming cheaper (reaching below $1000 threshold) and versatile – thus paving the way for distributed manufacturing and even home-manufacturing of common house-hold goods. The 3-D printing market is expected to reach $16.2b in 2018 from a modest estimated figure of $2.5 b in 2013 [source: independent research firm Canalys]. Watch out for its manifold impact on the current manufacturing, distribution and retail network.

So what is flip-side of all these invasive insightful services and products? Am I losing my privacy? Will our social behavior be a open book to Nosy Providers? I am not going into the big debate here. But again we may look back to the ‘good old’ village days. Did not so many villagers know what was cooking in Grandma’s kitchen on a given day – from the vegetables she bought and the aroma coming out? If we take pride in calling the modern world a Global Village, we may be in for the same treatment. Someone may be figuring out what is in my dinner plate tonight (and hopefully stopping there…).

In summary, the convergence of Big Data, Advanced Customer Analytics techniques and 3-D printing is opening up new frontiers and is going to profoundly impact customer interactions , service providers and even manufactures/retailers. The pendulum is definitely swinging towards individualistic offering and products- somewhat akin to the way our Grandma used to interact with her trusted jeweler. So curiously going forward means like going back!

— Written by Mr. Pranab Chakraborty, Associate Director and Global Delivery Executive for  Financial Sector –Canada, IBM.

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