Data Visualization promises all things to all people. To some its art, to some its an exploratory science, and to some it is the end result of thorough investigative journalism. The money comes when it is used to report business information.

Mark Wilcox chaired the recent UNICOM data visualization event in London,  and runs a local Analytics meetup Group [1]

“Data Visualization consistently draws a larger audience than other technical topics such as machine learning or R”

Business teams in large companies are ditching their industrial scale pdf reporting processes, and replacing this with a few flexible, interactive dashboards. For companies mature enough to cater for Enterprise, this is a vast market – valued at over 200 billion by Forbes in 2017 [2]

A Tableau Dashboard

Most of this value is captured by platforms such as Tableau and PowerBI, although many organisations opt for custom builds or have additional in house capability for specific dashboards. Bloomberg, for example, are already invested in the space through their journalistic interests and consistently produces high quality visualization. Other large companies have opted for acquisition – eg. the acquisition of data visualization consultancy Signal-Noise by the Economist group [3]

As Tableau and PowerBI pull ahead with wide customer bases (Tableau now is worth around $6 billion), they leave a range of other players differentiating themselves with other features, and a supply chain of much smaller companies vieing to assist them – for example Cork firm Interactive Reporting [4] who supply database technology being used in businesses throughout North and South America

Predictive analytics is set to become increasingly integrated into the dashboards of tomorrow, with machine learning becoming a standard way of surfacing unusual data and making forecasts about the future. Virtual Reality and augmented reality are also being trialled for productivity gains – trials in Deutsche Post [5] using augmented reality headsets with information display to assist sorting packages have reported significant productivity gains.

Concepts that we now take as standard visuals, eg. filtering products on ;an e-commerce website by color or price, first appeared in research prototypes built by MIT in 2008 (called “facets”). It’s easy to forget that this didn’t exist ten years ago – we just had lists and search.

Worth remembering at Unicom! [5]


[2] Forbes link:

[3] Signal-noise acquired by the Economist.

[4] Deutsche Post rolls out augmented reality trial:

[5] Unicom technical conferences:

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