Big data analytics company Riskpulse has exclusively informed ProgrammableWeb about the launch of the Sense API, aimed at helping start-ups, innovators, data analysts, and new tech product makers to monetize the data they might be collecting. Matthew Wensing, CEO and cofounder, tells us how third-party developers can partner with Riskpulse, using the Sense API to commercialize risk assessment-related data.
"We started out as Stormpulse," Wensing told ProgrammableWeb. Stormpulse collated open data sources of weather data and applied mapping, predictive analytics, and other algorithms to create business utility. "We were pretty successful in terms of helping people get value out of weather data, especially in helping make weather data relevant to businesses."
Wensing explained the business' key pivot in November of last year: "We became Riskpulse and re-achitected the data to be of more use to B2B users. So we have shifted the focus to all types of risks: natural disasters (earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, for example) and port strikes; there has not been a tool to help businesses understand these risks in real time, map them, and integrate them with asset tracking, crime, and theft...."
To match the growing business remit and potential of Riskpulse's added value, the company has now launched the Sense API and an accompanying marketplace to help developers and subject-matter experts commercialize their data and knowledge in the Riskpulse risk management system.
"We have innovated a business model with the Sense API. We want to ingest data from third-party suppliers, so if you have valuable hazard data, let us resell it for you. We are also providing access to commercialization experts who can help start-ups and businesses identify the context of risk early on. For example, if you're a travel company and you have premium customers traveling around the world, risk incidents do have an effect on your RoI."
Wensing jokes that the Sense API is like Riskpulse putting up a sign that says: Will commercialize your data for food. "There is a lot more money on the table than people realize."
Five examples of sharing valuable hazard data
Wensing is thinking big and wants developers and big data analysts to share their data exhaust -- or their capacity to collect and remix public data sources -- with Riskpulse to help map business risks.
1. Crime and theft
"Fuel tanks are often fitted with theft sensors these days so that customers can get real-time crime data, but real-time crime data in general is not easy to get. After the Boston bombings, the Boston police scanner was the most valuable dataset in the world: Everyone was tuning in to it. If we had the ability for a premium layer to provide to retail transport trucks, for example, we would be able to identify crime hot spots that could be avoided," said Wensing.
2. Service surges
"Ridesharing companies need to know when it is raining, as that significantly impacts the demand for their services," Wensing explains. To help some of these companies, Riskpulse has begun experimenting with introducing a simple app feature: a new "risk event" button in the drivers' apps -- in this case, a button they can press to indicate if it is raining where they are. Riskpulse can then collate this data (crowdsourced from their own drivers) in real time and help the rideshare company set pricing levels or manage fleets as the rain increases demand. Wensing is keen to try out this type of crowdsourced data for other potential uses: "We are thrilled with the service. Now we are getting into the platform side of the house [with this type of approach]."
3. Wearable tech and hardware developers
Wensing has already worked with cargo companies that use sensors and wearable tech to measure ambient temperatures. However, he sees this as the very start of the potential that can be commercialized from Internet-of-Things (IoT) data sources that hardware companies, wearable tech companies, and even independent sensor makers are collecting. "There are very interesting opportunities to take a mesh you have created and commercialize that with us," said Wensing.
4. Proximity problems and sensor data
Again, Wensing is thinking that the next set of hazard problems could be solved by wearable tech or a developer who could build an aggregation system that collected location-specific data to solve what Wensing calls "proximity problems." He gives examples of security guards at an amusement park who, by legislation requirements, might be required to be stationed within a certain distance of particular rides, or an oil-and-gas platform that has safety regulations requiring a particular distribution of workers across the site at any given time. Data analytics solutions coupled with wearable tech APIs that can help monitor these needs could also help Riskpulse enter these new markets more quickly. The company is willing to partner and commercialize ideas with third-party developers who can rise to the challenge of designing data systems to manage risks in these verticals.
5. Traffic congestion
"We still haven't found the ideal partner yet," Wensing said about traffic congestion. Being able to monitor traffic in specific cities or along specific routes can play a key role in reducing risks and costs associated with logistics, mobile service provision, product and food distribution, and other urban economy challenges. "We would love to find someone with whom we could take this risk data to market together," he said.
"More valuable than Kickstarter"
Wensing believes that, for makers and developers, working with Riskpulse offers "a lot more opportunity than Kickstarter."
Sourcing unique data points, remixing data from proprietary and open sources, and creating new products from the results make up a growing business model approach among API developers. This can be witnessed from the developers who are making use of products like import.io to design new services and apps and the greenfields markets available in creating businesses that use open data sources. At many of the presentations at the ModevGov event this week, developers were encouraged to target government agencies or related markets that have a high demand for solutions that take data and remix it to create analytics and visualizations that enable informed decision making and communications. Services such as NationBuilder are also taking an approach similar to the one Riskpulse is using, encouraging a commercial market for developers as part of their ecosystem.
There is a world of opportunity emerging for those with a big data mindset. This year we expect to see more initiatives like the Riskpulse Sense API that aim to partner with developers to commercialize the use of data.
By Mark Boyd. Mark is a freelance writer focusing on how we use technology to connect and interact. He writes regularly about API business models, open data, smart cities, Quantified Self , and e-commerce. He can be contacted via e-mail, on Twitter, or on Google+.