Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Crowd-sourcing data - and innovating along the way

Many organizations are turning to crowd sourcing to attack data gathering problems. THis so-called “wisdom of the crowds” approach is very compelling: thousands of free-roaming, autonomous data input points, possibly at no cost (or maybe even getting a revenue stream from the app itself). Of course, overcoming privacy concerns (linking the GPS data of each device to the user) is a challenge. For example, TomTom uses data from its devices for traffic condition reporting -- in real time. The approach consolidates data from all the TomTom sat nav in use to get the actual speed of traffic on roads at certain times, versus the posted speeds. They also allow their users to submit map updates. After about 30 days from release, there were more than 6,500 updates to the maps.

Eco-warriors can get the power of crowds on their side with this. Find out where water pollution sources are -- but with augmented sensors, as this approach relies on a sensor plugged into the audio jack on a smartphone that senses water quality using a microeletromechanical (MEMs) sensor inside the dongle. The goal is to eventually use the MEMs packed into the device to measure nitrate, heavy metal, carcinogens, and bacteria in water.

There's plenty of more crowd sourcing options with smart phones. Read more here...

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