How-old.net leverages business intelligence and goes viral

 

The value of business intelligence cannot be underestimated.

That statement may sound grand by design, but it is one that was reinforced following the release of a relatively rudimentary website built by Microsoft.

Face recognition, business intelligence and analytics

How-old.net has been taking social media and the mainstream press by storm over the last few days. The application, which effectively guesses a user’s age and sex based on an uploaded photo, may appear to be a relatively rudimentary use of face recognition software, but it actually has powerful business intelligence and analytics underwriting the whole endeavour.

The website took little over a day to build, and has only gone through a few minor tweaks since. In a blog post, the developers claim that they were putting together the application as a test in efforts to get around 50 people to use it. In the end, 35,000 people had engaged with the app, with Microsoft monitoring everything in real time.

Disruption and enterprise agility

Consequently, the key takeaway from this project is that analytics and business intelligence are ever-evolving, and organisations that have agility at their core will likely get ahead. The chance of disruption should form part of any strategy mapping, especially as both the consumer and enterprise worlds become more susceptible to virality.

While How-old.net has proven to be a fun way for users to upload photos, it has provided Microsoft with a huge catalogue of demographic information. Thanks to analytics, the company has learned ages, locations and genders of thousands of users and could potentially pour this information back into its enterprise planning processes.

However, Microsoft has no desire to do anything of the sort, as the website is merely a technical exercise put together for its Build Developers Conference.

However, the whole endeavour and its consequent popularity are evidence that all enterprises may have to embrace virality, business intelligence and analytics collectively if they wish to garner the best, most useful insights going forward.