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Wild Winter: Data Collection in the Age of Extreme Weather


While spring has finally sprung, it may well take some time for large swaths of the country to fully thaw out from memories of the brutal, record-breaking, polar vortex that punctuated the 2013/2014 winter. A National Climate Data Center overview notes that this was the 25th most extreme U.S. winter since 1910 and the 34th coldest on record.

But despite the miseries of a relentless freeze, we are on the same page as the popular blog Motherboard—from satellites to radars to weather ships and beyond, the amount of climate data collected every day is awesome… and that’s exactly, word-for-word the name of this blog post by Motherboard! Weather forecasters rely on a superabundance of data collection tools, including over 10,000 manned and automatic surface weather stations and 1,000 upper-air stations. And it all goes back to the National Climate Data Center—run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—which “maintains the world’s largest climate data archive and provides climatological services and data to every sector of the United States economy and to users worldwide.”

Indeed, the NOAA’s is a treasure trove of real-time data collection in action. The site’s map application offers a range of regularly updated global weather data snapshots. Sea ice, precipitation, atmospheric carbon dioxide, surface temperature—it is all here. And their Global Climate Dashboard, replete with a century’s worth of temperature data and over 50 years of carbon dioxide data, provides an essential barometer of climate change.

Now, one major impact of extreme winter weather is evident on the nation’s roadways, which can be made extremely dangerous and impassable in severe snow and ice events. We saw this hazard on full display in Atlanta in late January, as thousands of drivers were stranded on highways when the city was blindsided by a winter storm. Here is an arena, though, where mobile data collection solutions are on the rise. A new “connected vehicles” venture by the U.S. Department of Transportation – Research and Innovative Technology Administration seeks to leverage mobile sources “to focus the analysis on improving the ability to detect and forecast road weather and pavement conditions by specific roadway links.”

Such a mobile data collection enabled approach to weather forecasting and preparedness could significantly mitigate the risks associated with roadway travel in inclement weather—a welcome development in an age defined by a climate of extremes. We may not be able to control the weather, but we can be encouraged by mobile data collection technologies contributing to our greater safety in the face of the next big storm.

The Data-Driven Quest to Find Flight MH370


Ever since the March 8 scheduled flight from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Beijing Capital International Airport went missing one hour after takeoff, the tragic mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has dominated headlines. While the Malaysian government announced on March 24 that the aircraft crashed in the southern Indian Ocean “beyond any reasonable doubt,” an international search team continues its work to determine what happened to the flight and track down any traces of the aircraft itself—and these efforts are being driven by data collection.

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Play Ball: The Expansive Role of Data Collection in Major League Baseball

GoSpotCheck branded baseball foam fingers

While spring has technically sprung, sports fans across the country tend to agree that it is not really spring until baseball’s opening day, March 31. It is now upon us, and excitement is in the air; in fact, a petition on the White House website to “Declare Major League Baseball Opening Day a national holiday” has crossed the threshold of the 100,000 signatures needed to guarantee a response.

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The Data-Driven Beverages Industry


Back in December, we explored companies that are Elevating the Beverage Industry Through Mobile Data Collection, with particular focus on leaders in wine manufacturing. Also, in case you missed it, be sure to check out our recent interview with Delicato Family Vineyards to learn how they have strengthened their sales and marketing initiatives by using GoSpotCheck. Vintners and wineries are certainly not alone in turning data into action, beverage companies across the board—from soft drinks to coffee and beyond—are taking a data-driven approach to their business operations.

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March Madness: High-Powered Analytics and the Data-Fueled NCAA Brackets


Feeling the college basketball buzz? March Madness—the NCAA Division I college basketball tournament—begins this week. Can Louisville defend its title? Or will a top seed like Florida or Arizona go all the way? Whatever the final outcome, we are in for an exhilarating month of hoops. As you join everyone from your next-door neighbor to President Obama and fill out your tournament brackets, let us take a look at the data collection stories surrounding the Big Dance.

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Confronting the Breaches: Robust Data Security Is Essential

cloud based data security

In recent months, retail-sector data security has made top headlines. However, the news has unfortunately been rather disheartening. First, in January of this year, Target confirmed that 40 million debit and credit card accounts were breached between Thanksgiving and Christmas 2013. Additionally, the names, home addresses and phone numbers of 70 million Target customers were compromised. Then, later in January, news came of another sweeping consumer data breach, this time at Neiman Marcus. From July 16 to October 30, 2013, the credit card information of 1.1 million shoppers who made in-store transactions was stolen. Not comforting news to the millions of consumers in this country.

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Interview Series: DFV Wines Showcases the Benefits of GoSpotCheck for Beverage Industry Customers

Delicato Family Vineyards Talks GoSpotCheck

Delicato Family Vineyards (DFV Wines) is a California-based, family-owned winery that has been using GoSpotCheck to strengthen their sales and marketing initiatives. Director of Strategic Insights, Richard Holscher, took some time to tell us more about DFV Wines and how they are using GoSpotCheck.

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Action! Mobile Data Collection and the Academy Awards

Oscar holding mobile device

The 86th Academy Awards are set to air this Sunday, March 2, and as the preceding year in movies will soon reach its glamorous peak at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, we’re tackling the exciting intersection of data collection and the Oscars.

The fact is, when the Oscars come to town, Hollywood simply overflows with high-profile galas, and mobile data collection tools are doing plenty of the legwork to reduce event planning and execution headaches. Take the Zkipster guest list app, which will replace burdensome stacks of paper on clipboards and minimize entrance lines at several Oscars-related functions. The Los Angeles Times notes that the cloud-based mobile application syncs with zFace “to append photographs of people to guest lists, allowing party organizers to confirm the identities of prospective attendees.” This means that organizers can check in guests “with the confidence that partygoers are who they say they are.”

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Sochi Goes Mobile: Tracking the Olympics

3 mobile devices with gold, silver and bronze medals

A culture of media innovation surrounds the XXII Olympic Winter Games. After all, the official logo for the games features the URL, making it the very first Olympic logo to take the form of a web address. As The New Yorker recently pointed out, “[W]hen the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee unveiled the logo, it described it as representing ‘the first digital brand in the history of the Olympic Movement.’” In this Olympic atmosphere charged with technological zeal, it is no surprise that a plethora of exciting mobile applications, streaming capabilities and even interactive digital art installations have surfaced over the course of these games.

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Sochi: The Winter Olympics Data Story

Data Collection in the 2014 Sochi Olympics

The XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia are underway. Over the course of 16 days, more than 2,800 athletes from 88 nations are competing in 98 events across 15 disciplines in 7 sports. The volume of sport data accumulated throughout the games—from runtimes on the bobsled course to scores on the ice rink to degrees rotated in the halfpipe—is simply colossal.

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