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February 14, 2018

Real-Time Data: The Importance of Immediacy in Today’s Digital Economy

Kevin Petrie


Today, we’re creating more data than the word has ever seen before. In fact, 90 percent of the world’s data has been created in the past two years. But more data doesn’t always mean more insight, which is why companies today need to analyze the data they’re collecting in order to draw value from it.

At the same time, immediacy is becoming a growing requirement for companies. In a world where even a few-second delay when switching apps on our smartphones can cause instant blood pressure spikes, “fast” is no longer the standard that we apply to our digital interactions. This need for real-time response is not just a consumer concern; indeed, many industries are beginning to rely more heavily on the ability to collect, analyze and act on data instantaneously.

Real-time data allows organizations to compete more effectively, capitalize on immediate customer opportunities and improve efficiency. Across industries, companies are using real-time data to engage with end users, and it’s becoming increasingly critical to the services they provide.

Online Retailers

Abandoned shopping carts are no longer just a problem for grocery store parking lots; increasingly, they are becoming a problem for online retailers. Shoppers will add an item to their cart only to leave the site before finishing the transaction. In 2016, Business Insider found that approximately $4.6 trillion worth of merchandise was abandoned throughout the year; however, an estimated 60 percent, or $2.75 trillion, is “potentially recoverable by savvy online retailers.”

Etailers with visibility into a user’s online shopping progress through the checkout process receive instant notification when the user drops out. With real-time data, companies can instantly engage with the user, determine the friction point, and potentially save a sale that would likely be lost if contact was initiated even moments later.

Autonomous Vehicles

Apps such as Waze, the popular traffic and navigation app, crowdsource information and update users in real-time, allowing them to get an inside look at what other users have flagged, keeping them safe and efficient. This same type of technology is being applied to autonomous vehicles to help keep drivers and passengers safe, while also allowing drivers to find an alternative route if necessary.

Since they were first introduced, autonomous vehicles have raised a question of safety – how will the car avoid potholes, pedestrians, others cars? These questions become even more critical as cars travel down the highway at 80 mph. As the speed of data has increased, so has the safety of autonomous cars. With the help of real-time technology, these vehicles are learning to safely transport passengers from point A to point B, anticipating routes, understanding risks and maintaining speeds along the way.

Plant Floors

Up until this point, maintenance workers performed reactive and preventative maintenance. While each is performed with the intention of keeping the plant floor running smoothly, there’s almost always downtime. According to Deloitte, unplanned downtime costs industrial manufacturers an estimated $50 million per year.

Today’s plant floors are almost totally self-controlled. By employing real-time data, machines can predict when they’ll need maintenance and alert plant managers to ensure there isn’t a lapse in production due to lack of inventory or products breaking.

Emergency Response

Armed with a growing list of mobile apps and connectivity options, firefighters, first responders and police can make informed, split-second decisions based on real-time data. The veritable game of telephone that used to take place from the caller to dispatch to the responding unit is eliminated – and with it, the possibility of distorted information – as real-time data access provides visibility across the systems.


Additionally, today’s real-time data technology allows organizations like the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to accept a variety of data formats and convert them to a compatible format quickly. When responding to natural disasters, this becomes a necessity in order to react quickly and efficiently.

Fraud detection

Out of the five areas listed here, fraud detection has seen the quickest real-time adoption and for good reason. In 2016, credit card fraud cost consumers more than $16 million. Noticing a credit card is missing is a scary feeling, and banks and credit card companies can set themselves apart by flagging unusual activity quickly, in turn saving customers thousands of dollars. With the continuous development of real-time technology, these organizations can almost immediately identify any suspicious card action and alert cardholders of possible theft.


In the hospitality industry, companies are competing against each other to provide the best customer experience. Real-time data integration is playing a key enabling role. For example, recently, Live! Casino & Hotel wanted to better serve its guests by making timely, relevant offers based on the guest’s history and real-time activity onsite. To do this, it had to identify event activity and business trends in real-time, which wasn’t possible with its prior data infrastructure. To achieve its goals, Live! Casino & Hotel selected Attunity Replicate with change data capture (CDC) to provide real-time data integration for analytics. Live! Casino & Hotel can now quickly pull information from its production gaming system without impacting server resources to enable more efficient and effective touchpoints with guests, enabling an enhanced and more personal experience for them.

These are just a few tangible examples of how real-time data is impacting our everyday lives. As big data processing, managing and analyzing tools get more powerful, expect to see businesses discover more innovative ways to leverage the immediate benefits provided by real-time data.

About the author: Kevin Petrie is a technology evangelist and senior director of product marketing at Attunity. Kevin has 20 years of experience in technology, with a focus on big data, storage and the cloud. Kevin has held strategy, services and marketing leadership roles with EMC and Symantec. Prior to receiving his MBA from Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, Kevin was a financial writer with, analyzing the data networking and telecommunications industries. Kevin has a bachelor of arts degree from Bowdoin College. He is an outdoor fitness nut, bookworm, husband and father of three boys. You can follow Kevin on Twitter at @KevinPetrieTech.

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