Bright Idea: Data Processing

| FROM THE PRINT EDITION |
 
 

We give people an unfair advantage,” reads a T-shirt worn by Stephen Purpura. That’s the marketing mantra of Context Relevant, the Seattle startup Purpura launched last year. The company says it offers that edge by using machine-learning technology to quickly uncover critical relationships from among massive amounts of client data.

“Our product allows companies to explore a world of ‘what if’ scenarios that a team of statisticians would have taken months to do in the past,” Purpura explains.

A pharmaceutical company on the East Coast that was trying to decide how to price its drugs could have hired a team of data scientists to make the decision in several months. With Context Relevant, the firm’s market analysts could use an iPad, slide a few variables around and come up with an optimal price within a matter of minutes.

While Microsoft and Google can afford to hire data scientists, a lot of other companies have a tougher time, says Purpura. “We level the playing field.”

The company, which has 30 employees, expects to double its head count in 2014 and again in 2015. “After that, there could be exponential growth if we are not first acquired,” notes Purpura. He says the market potential for selling to Wall Street firms alone is $1 billion. Purpura left a career at Microsoft to pursue a doctorate in computer science so he could have a bigger impact on the world. He says in a few years, every app in the Apple store will contain some variation of Context Relevant’s technology.

Today, Context Relevant is applying its technology in industry sectors involving rapid change. For example, a sharp increase in same-day bookings has led online travel companies to use Context Relevant technology to help them quickly determine where they should book blocks of hotel rooms. Similarly, the technology can zip through default rates, housing prices and interest rates to calculate risk and help determine the value of mortgage-backed securities. Purpura even uses the technology to help him decide what wines to buy and whom to hire.

Sponsored

Smart Glasses Improving Workflow for HVAC Projects

Smart Glasses Improving Workflow for HVAC Projects

Wearable technology increases productivity for HVAC technicians
 
 

Sponsored by MacDonald-Miller

XOEye technologies created a smart glasses tool, built specifically for field technicians to capture real-time documentation. When MacDonald-Miller heard about the new wearable technology platform, they saw it as an opportunity to be the first mechanical contractor in the Pacific Northwest to implement these smart glasses into their services.

We interviewed MacDonald-Miller’s Chief Information Officer, Bradd Busick, to hear first-hand how this new technology will be integrated into services and how it will streamline HVAC projects.

What are the capabilities of the smart glasses? 

The smart glasses, MacLens, capture and stream high fidelity audio and visual content, enabling first-person point-of-view (POV). MacLens includes a camera, earpiece, and microphone — all built into a single headset, capturing real-time documentation of equipment, work performed, and recommendations being made. 

How does it work for technicians?

Once service techs arrive onsite, they put their MacLens glasses on to create an intro video communicating where they are, a brief diagnosis or repair identification, and a summary recap for the customer. After the site visit is complete, the tech then uploads the content to the call summary report on the customer portal, where customers can access it at their convenience.

What is the benefit for the end-user?

Building owners and property managers have to trust their maintenance provider is actually doing the work they claim. Most building owners will never see the work being done on their properties, but they will receive a list of recommendations for changes and a bill. It’s a relationship built on trust. MacLens adds a level of transparency and customer experience where we are able to show in real-time what is happening on roofs and in mechanical rooms. MacLens embeds audio and video content into each summary report, providing customers with the peace of mind that comes with unbridled transparency.

What is the vision behind this technology roll-out?

The goal is to enhance the customer connection to the services provided and also enable technicians to connect with each other. There are incredible operational efficiencies that enable mobility and collaboration through telepresence and increased accountability.

How will they affect the next wave of HVAC technicians?

Not only will MacLens increase workflow productivity, but it also offers training opportunities and safety benefits without adding any additional work to service technicians. This is a major educational advantage. Now expert journeyman can train apprentices simply by walking through their daily tasks, recording those sessions and sharing them in our learning management system — it’s the next evolution of training!

See MacLens in action here.

MacDonald-Miller Facility Solutions is a full-service, design-build, mechanical contractor in the Pacific Northwest. Learn more about MacDonald-Miller’s recent projects.