Can you predict the future?


Sean Catlin, CTO at Canopy

Predictive intelligence may have been around for a while but it’s only more recently that forward-thinking companies are using it to its fuller potential. It allows firms to become more agile by identifying emerging sales patterns, predicting customer preferences, and adapting products and campaigns in anticipation of market demands. At the same time, consumers are becoming increasingly connected to the internet and demanding intuitive digital experiences.


But can data really be used to predict the future?

Businesses are using predictive intelligence tools to target and retain customers likely to leave and to increase cross-selling opportunities. Customer behaviour is analysed and tracked over time by interpreting sales data, using techniques such as ABC analysis and satisfaction survey scores. This provides a clear view of predicted sales, enabling firms to forecast product demand and optimum inventory levels.

Others are using predictive intelligence to enhance the consumer experience. One large European car manufacturer is using big data to move from a just-in-time supply chain to real-time parts monitoring. Adding sensors to parts of the car will tell the manufacturer when components’ life expectancy is coming to an end. The company will then be able to get in touch with the customer and give an early warning sign about when the car’s equipment will need a repair.

Taking predictive intelligence one step further, a team from the University of Hagenberg in Austria has developed an app called Evergreen. This app calculates the phasing of traffic lights across a city so motorists can drive at a speed that, in a perfect scenario, spares them from ever having to stop at a red light. It provides the driver with information on how long they will have to wait at the lights, enabling them to reduce carbon emissions and save money on fuel costs, as well as on parts such as brake pads, because they won’t have to accelerate and decelerate as often.

It’s clear there’s lots of potential for businesses to use predictive intelligence to their advantage and the automotive industry is just one example. What remains to be seen however, is how many companies will truly unlock the full potential of predictive intelligence and put themselves one step ahead of the competition in the digital era.

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