Here is an interview with Joseph Eapen, CEO of RMInsights an exciting data science company that have been using R for their work in providing decision support for the Entertainment Industry (do not confuse them with rminsight- which is almost the same url but without the s)
I found some of the work in applied data science cool enough to request an interview and they were gracious to respond at short notice.
Ajay Ohri (AO)- What are the innovative steps , products services and initiatives that you have been executing at rminsights.net
Joseph Eapen (JE)– Cinema: RMI has launched Cinema Audience Measurement with focus on Audience Appreciation. As you know, film making is an expensive and time-consuming exercise; to add to it, the audience sit through a movie, with great expectation, hoping it is worth their time, effort and money. Even though Box office collections is a yardstick of movie revenues, it is still far from any audience appreciation measures. CAM through http://screenratings.org provides a scientific tool that will aid you with movie appreciation scores and help you opine to aid others in choosing a movie to watch this week.
Television: Apart from CAM, RMI focuses on Data Analytics, especially forecasting techniques using R and Shiny and has developed a TV ratings forecaster as a Service.
Data Collection: Designs Mobile based Custom Surveys using ODK (OpenDataKit –Build, Collect, Aggregate)
AO- What are some of the applications and products that you have been developing using R language and R Shiny Applications
JE- TV Ratings Forecaster as a Service is the product we have developed using R and Shiny. It uses Professor Rob J Hyndman’s Forecast package that provides methods and tools for displaying and analyzing univariate time series forecasts including exponential smoothing; using the Holt-Winters HW approach.
The user has to simply upload a csv file containing historical TV ratings of any TV channel(s), usually 48 time-segments for each day, decide on the forecast horizon and the system predicts and plots the forecast.
AO- What is your vision for research and analytics going forward ?
JE- We are all at an interesting juncture, almost everything we do is captured at a transactional level and the so called Bigdata will be accessible for analysis. So in future, I see that we will need research to bridge gaps in this transactional data, so a large role in decision making will be played by analytics more than research (as we know it now). Both will co-exists, but data mining and analytics will take center stage.
AO- Describe your career journey from students day to CEO
JE- After I finished my engineering (Electronics & Telecommunication) in Mumbai, I went to Dubai in search for a job. Within 10 days, I saw a job vacancy in the local newspaper for a Project Engineer at a leading Market Research company – PARC (A Gallup affiliate). I applied and after 2 rounds of interview, landed the job. The company had just signed a JV with AGB Italia (an Television Audience Measurement company) to conduct peoplemeter based TAM in the Gulf region, starting with UAE. The JV was called AGB Gulf. During the expansion phase of the project I was send to Milan to test and initiate the purchase of peoplemeters for the expansion, and trained at their headquarters in Switzerland. Soon I was promoted as Head of AGB Gulf, and ran it for 10 years.. During this time I led the service through an successful audit by the Industry.
Following this I was instrumental in the launch of TGI (Single Source from BMRB) in the Gulf and LEVANT markets, again through a JV between PARC and BMRB in UK. The JV was called TGI Arabia.
This was the first 13 years of my career. Post that I joined as Head of Research & Development at MediaEdge:CIA (A WPP Company) in Dubai. After 3 years, I returned to Mumbai and joined aMap (An overnight Television Ratings agency, competing fiercely with TAM Media Research – A Nielsen/Kantar Company) as Director and promoted to CEO within 11 months.
After 3 years with aMap, I was appointed as CEO of MRUC (An industry body that issues IRS – world’s largest readership study, in India)
Post MRUC, I joined RMI as CEO… and the journey continues…
AO- What advice would you give to aspiring data scientists
JE- As much as, there will be large amount of data to mine and lot of techniques available to make sense of it all, it may get overwhelming and we should not lose track of the purpose of mining, that is, application of the learning and understanding to enhance our life and the world around us. It should not be – Exciting to Mine and Good to Know… It should be way beyond that.. totally purpose driven and put to use, aggressively
AO- What do you think are the criterion that companies should take into factor while outsourcing research and analytics (apart from cost)
JE- Apart from cost, the key factor should be turn-around speed and accountability. Not only should they be fast & meticulous, but how much they can stand behind their work and see that it serves the purpose, it was commissioned for, in the first place. So you see it goes beyond ‘just doing a good job’
We have studied human nature and behavior for more than 20 years. Our reputation for delivering relevant, timely, and visionary solutions on what people around the world think and feel is the cornerstone of the organization. We employ many of the world’s leading scientists in management, economics, psychology, and sociology. We study market conditions in local, regional, or national areas to examine potential of a product or service. We help companies understand what products people want, who will buy them, and at what price.