IBM’s Many Eyes visualization technology is allowing users to visualize the information contained in complex datasets for improved business planning.
Organizations around the globe harbor vast troves of information buried in their databases, but transforming that data into a format that can be analyzed, manipulated and used for formulating business strategy requires advanced visualization technology. Visualization techniques can help turn complex digital data into usable information, displayed in graphic illustrations such as bar or pie charts, line graphs and other visual representations that can reveal the relationships, trends and patterns needed to make informed decisions.
Researchers at IBM’s Collaborative User Experience (CUE) group, which focuses on computer-supported cooperative work, wanted to explore the capabilities of visualization technology not only for data analysis, but also as a catalyst for discussion and collective insight about the data. In January 2007, CUE’s Visual Communications Lab launched a pilot Many Eyes Web site, an experimental site that allows users to upload the data they want to visualize and use sophisticated tools to generate interactive displays. The site offers 16 ways to present data, from simple pie charts to Treemaps to social network diagrams that track the interactions between people.
The Many Eyes pilot site is available for use by the general public, with the goal that this advanced visualization technology will spark collaborative thought and conversations among users. The Many Eyes Web site states: “We believe that visualizations gain power when multiple people use them to communicate, and that communication gains power when multiple people can visualize and explore information together. We want to democratize visualization, enabling anyone on the internet to publish powerful interactive visualizations and start their own data conversations. Many Eyes is designed to bring that power to you.”
In addition to the pilot site, IBM Research Services — a collaboration between IBM Research and Global Business Services — worked with the IBM Sales & Distribution group and the Integrated Technology Services team to integrate the Many Eyes technology into a major U.S. news publisher’s newsroom. The tool was customized to graphically represent news-related data such as changes in consumer prices or 2008 election statistics, with the goal of socialization and interactive discussion around news events.
Many Eyes is representative of how IBM Research is utilizing leading-edge collaboration and visualization technology to provide powerful tools for analyzing, interpreting and leveraging data for greater business value. IBM Research Services is working with clients and industry experts to deliver groundbreaking approaches and technologies. To find out more about the research and explore innovative ways to derive greater value from your data, contact IBM Research Services today.