Forefront Communications

International Business Times: Thasos Converts Real-Time Location Data From Mobile Phones Into ‘Actionable Information’


Mark Dowd

Mark Dowd

Thasos Group specializes in converting real-time location data from mobile phones into “actionable information”. The start-up has spent six years in stealth – one of those on-site at a $10bn-plus hedge fund.

Before Thasos, its founder Greg Skibiski was CEO of Sense Networks, another location data analytics company, which was recognized by Bloomberg Businessweek in the “Top 25 Most Intriguing New Businesses in the World” and named “The Next Google” on the cover of Newsweek. Since  the Thasos website went live about three months ago, it too has begun to pick up awards.

Skibiski is an expert on big data and particularly nerdy when it comes to location data, which he has something of a love/hate relationship with. “It’s a horrible dataset because it’s really difficult to work with, but it’s also an amazing dataset because it’s so highly dimensional and has relevance to many important things,” he says.

It took Thasos a number of years just to build the evaluation framework to grade the quality of data sources and understand whether those sources have predictive capabilities or not. A good dataset would involve many millions of users over multiple years. And once these high quality data sources are feeding into to the production platform, there are always upstream errors which makes some percentage of them unusable at any given time.

Being overly reliant on one upstream data source means that if something goes wrong with that, the signal may be incorrect without anyone realizing it, which can cost a fund millions. So it’s important to have multiple independent data streams with location, notes Skibiski – unlike analysing credit card data, for example, where there might be just one credit card data provider and the data is going to be more or less the same accuracy all the time for any given ticker.

Skibiski recounted how hard it can be to pinpoint where such errors originate. “One time, we had all this erroneous data streaming in and we couldn’t figure out what was going on until we finally tracked [the error] down with the data provider, and it took us over a month. Remember this is data exhaust in many cases so they [providers] are not using it for anything and not looking at it very carefully.”

Read the full article, click here.

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