How 5 Boston techies leverage data to do exciting work

by Cailin Crowe
May 14, 2019

It’s no secret that the influx of available data and artificial intelligence are rapidly transforming local tech companies’ products and services.

From fulfilling grocery orders to measuring human emotion, the following tech companies leverage data to complete exciting projects that provide even better customer solutions — while still achieving what appears to be something out of a sci-fi movie. Here’s what they had to say:
 

Takeoff Technologies Boston
photo via takeoff technologies

Takeoff Technologies is on a mission to change the e-groceries landscape. With the help of their automated micro-fulfillment centers, the Waltham-based company improves the online grocery shopping experience.

Chief Engineering Officer Alfredo Millán told us more about how customers will reap the benefits of an exciting new project.

 

Tell us about a project you’re working on right now that you’re really excited about. How is your team leveraging data to drive this initiative forward?

We work with leading grocery retailers to reimagine how online grocery orders can be fulfilled. Takeoff’s solution revolves around automated, hyperlocal micro-fulfillment centers built within or nearby existing supermarkets. We leverage several key data sources that inform our solution and technology, ranging from historic demand data to SKU-level attributes. We use multiple algorithms to optimize assortment decisions (which products to carry); inventory levels (how many of each product we should carry); and slotting decisions (where each product is stored in our micro-warehouse). This data is used to increase picking productivity, increase product availability, and minimize picking errors. These features directly translate into a lower cost to serve, and increased customer satisfaction for shoppers.

We work with leading grocery retailers to reimagine how online grocery orders can be fulfilled.” 

What impact will this project have on your business or your customers?

By streamlining our technology solution, we are able to offer our retail partners quality service at an affordable cost. Our algorithms and hardware do the work for our clients behind the scenes by leveraging the power of automation. We track inventory levels, expiration dates, the frequency and placement of orders, and provide an optimized assortment and picking logic for our products — all to ensure that the items are making their way into shoppers’ orders as quickly and efficiently as possible. This way, we pass the customer satisfaction, savings, and efficiency directly to our grocery retail partners.

 

Cambridge Semantics Boston
photo via Cambridge Semantics

Cambridge Semantics provides modern data management by helping IT departments and users semantically link, analyze and manage data sources.

Field Architect Kit Haines explained how he’s helping a pharmaceutical customer facilitate better communication with providers and patients.

 

Tell us about a project you’re working on right now that you’re really excited about. How is your team leveraging data to drive this initiative forward?

I’m working on a project for a pharmaceutical customer. The center needs to understand the questions they’re receiving about a newly-launched drug by categorizing those questions with topics. This project has a huge impact on our customers because it allows them to see areas of interest and concern in how they are communicating to their providers and patients, and respond accordingly. For instance, a lot of questions about dosing could mean they need to better explain dosing guidelines.

This project has a huge impact on our customers because it allows them to see areas of interest and concern...” 

What impact will this project have on your business or your customers?

One cool feature of the project is how it naturally integrates with tools that the customer is already using, including Excel. Our product Anzo has an Excel plug-in, which means that customers don’t have to change their tool between viewing questions and assigning topics.  We provide integration with their natural language tagging system, alleviating some of the previous manual work. We also provide an exploratory and interactive online dashboard to see the results of the tagging effort.

 

GreatHorn Boston
photo via greathorn

GreatHorn protects organizations against email threats like phishing and zero-day malware using advanced threat detection, user context tools and integrated incident response abilities.

Senior Data Scientist Chris Jones explained how GreatHorn uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to keep email secure.

 

Tell us about a project you’re working on right now that you’re really excited about. How is your team leveraging data to drive this initiative forward?

We're using machine learning to make email safer! We use data-hungry machine vision algorithms to follow links sent in emails and analyze the visual cues on the webpage to determine both the alleged vendor and if the site requests credentials. We combine that information with other data sources (such as threat databases and customer input) to determine if it’s a credential phishing attack. We also use machine learning to analyze tags generated from a given email based on keyword searches of the email body. These reveal information about the likelihood of this email carrying other forms of attacks such as CEO impersonation, spear phishing, etc.

We use data-hungry machine vision algorithms...” 

What impact will this project have on your business or your customers?

Machine learning and artificial intelligence enhance our platform. Our customers now have extremely accurate knowledge of fraud attempts such as credential theft or various other attack vectors before these attempts have been widely identified. We're not just memorizing a set of particular attacks, but learning about the attacks themselves. These efforts can protect customers from losing large amounts of money to that type of electronic theft.

 

well frame Boston
photo via wellframe

Wellframe provides digital health management software, connecting healthcare pros with patients to streamline critical medical data.

Manager of Data Sciences Emily Lindemer told us about an exciting project her team is working on to develop a holistic view of the patient experience.

 

Tell us about a project you’re working on right now that you’re really excited about. How is your team leveraging data to drive this initiative forward?

We are currently working on a project that combines multiple data sources and machine learning techniques to create a 360-degree view of a patient’s experience. We’re leveraging data from medical claims, care management outreach logs, in-app messaging data, and overall Wellframe program engagement. These efforts help us understand patients on an individual level and allow us to start making predictions about their current and future needs. This requires a great deal of data infrastructure to streamline data that is coming from multiple sources and to perform real-time analytics. We combine classic statistics and machine learning as well as natural language processing techniques that create a single model of the individual patient.

These efforts help us understand patients on an individual level...” 

What impact will this project have on your business or your customers?

This will take our business to the next level because we can move away from reporting solely population-level statistics and toward explanations about the individual patient. The human healthcare experience is incredibly diverse and complex, and insights at this level of granularity are necessary to improve patients’ lives. This project also helps our customers because it will inform key decisions when we implement new programs and policies within their services. By offering insights into the nuances of individual patient experiences, decisions that customers make within their organization that directly impact patients will become more data-driven and impactful.

 

Forward Financing Boston
photo via forward financing

Forward Financing uses their technology to provide same-day funding to small businesses.

Ali Fawaz, senior product manager of data and analytics, told us more about how the team uses data to build their Data Pipelines project.  



Tell us about a project you’re working on right now that you’re really excited about. How is your team leveraging data to drive this initiative forward?

We rely heavily on data and technology to effectively deliver same-day funding to small business owners across the country on a daily basis. One project that we are really excited about is the ‘Data Pipelines Project.’ This is a really big, beautiful project that is changing the way we make decisions at Forward Financing. Our technology ecosystem consists of many different custom-built applications for underwriting, banking, funding and other third-party applications such as Salesforce.

The problem we faced was that many stakeholders were not able to run reports or independently access and analyze information. We needed a way to synthesize the data from multiple sources into one easily accessible and digestible platform. The Data Pipelines tool is a self-service platform that taps into all of these applications, pulls relevant data and exports it into a read-only format. Data Pipelines consistently reflects changes across all applications for a real-time snapshot of all data points.

We rely heavily on data and technology to effectively deliver same-day funding to small business owners across the country.” 

What impact will this project have on your business or your customers?

This project will empower and enable decision-makers to make better informed choices. The Data Pipelines is a driver of business intelligence and strategic initiatives, which helps the company run more efficiently. By tracking data points, we are able to forecast and predict trends (funding volume, risk analysis, growth, etc.) and provide key insights into our credit decisions, employee KPIs, portfolio performance, and overall growth projections, to name a few.

For our customers, the Data Pipelines allow us to provide access to more funding opportunities. This project opens doors for the company to grow more efficiently and effectively because of the insight we now have. With the self-serving platform, decision-makers are able to simply drag and drop the exact data points they are looking to analyze from multiple platforms into read-only tables and charts that make the information easy to read.

 

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