This is Big Data for real and it’s local

Cornastone Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd

2016 winner of the Da Vinci Award for Excellence in the Management of Technology

Category for medium enterprises

This is Big Data for real and it’s local
Big global brands may dominate the Big Data market but a South African company is giving them a run for their money. Five years ago, Cornastone Telecommunications looked ahead, recognised the emergence of Big Data as a significant future trend, and started developing its own Big Data solution, called Data Discovery.

The platform is already processing and analysing over 150 million transactions a day and saving client millions of rands through real-time detection of revenue-leaking activities.

Here’s how the solution works. It sits on top of clients’ business systems, without being intrusive, and analyses multiple data streams in real time, providing independent verification of the completeness, accuracy and integrity of the data.  Data Discovery has real-time triggers and alerts for data anomalies, which domain specialists then investigate.  

In step with the social media era

One of the things that make Data Discovery stand out is the ability to integrate, analyse and make sense of data in a multiplicity of formats, including video, text, images, audio, business data and social media data. “We can also integrate open and unstructured data from any data source, including Census data,” says managing director Ansu Sooful.

This can generate deep insights for business decisions. “For instance, an insurance company can look at how it sells its products more effectively. It can combine public, demographic and business data on an interactive map to see what type of products should be sold in a certain area based on trends and patterns.”

Using social media, the solution can go even further. “For example, by integrating Twitter to Facebook, we can prompt the broker in an area to send flowers to someone who has just had a baby and could be interested in an education policy for her child,” Sooful says.

Data Discovery’s capacity is being enhanced to process petabytes of data and the solution is being constantly improved. Sooful says the current focus is to improve cloud-based capabilities and further enhance appliance-type packaging.
“We developed the solution according to open standards so it’s highly adaptable and you can take modules out and replace them with newer modules.  Of course you can never future-proof completely but for the next five years at least, we have a system that is relevant.”

As for the future, Sooful says: “We are moving fast but I don’t believe we are moving fast enough.  Our competitors are starting to pick up the pace too. To remain in the lead and ensure we survive as a business, we have to be even more future-focused and agile. As I am always telling my staff, we were not born to follow; we were born to lead.”