Feeling lonely? You’re not the only one. In an age where we are all constantly connected, more and more people are feeling disconnected and alone. Loneliness is becoming a growing problem for many people in wealthy countries.
But solving an issue as widespread and complex as this one isn’t an easy task. For this and other real-world problems, data and analytics can do a lot of good. The more we can learn from the data, the better we can understand the problem and go about solving it.
This year at the Gartner Data and Analytics Summit in Orlando, Gartner invited analytics vendors to unearth interesting findings from a research study on loneliness conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and The Economist.
TIBCO eagerly took up the challenge. Here’s what we found:
To help get us kick-started, TIBCO Spotfire® generated automated insights. Using Artificial Intelligence (AI), the automated insights generated were especially useful because it quickly and easily pointed us towards the best relationships to explore at the click of a few buttons. Based on these insights, Brad Hopper, VP Product Strategy, built a dashboard to quickly see what was going on with the data from a high level.
The first thing he noticed was the oldest and the youngest age groups holistically represent the loneliest age groups. Drilling down, the loneliest group overall was the 18-24 year-old females and the next highest was the 65-79 year-old females. But, surprisingly, Hopper found that while Japan reported the lowest rates of loneliness, they also reported the lowest rates of happiness. Also paradoxically, the happiest group overall was the 65-79 year old females.
Many experts have hypothesized about the possible connection between technology, social media, and loneliness in the past, but what’s the reality? Interestingly enough, when Hopper investigated the data further, he found that those who responded “no” to using the internet were also more likely to say that technology has made it harder for them to connect with others. Since this group responded “no” to using the internet, perhaps they are not even giving technology a chance. They might be discounting the ways technology could help them feel more connected even before trying it.
Image caption: A greater amount of the people who said they use the internet (left bar) claimed that it has helped with their loneliness (green section)
Real-time actions using Streaming BI
One of the biggest struggles companies have today is how to take insights, like the ones we just uncovered, and translate them into intelligent actions for the business.
Spotfire®’s streaming capabilities can help. With Spotfire®, you can get alerts about when to take action in real-time based on conditions you set. For example, this feature could be used to trigger an alert to a crisis hotline if there is a sudden spike in those who respond with a high likelihood of committing self-harm or violent acts.
The ability to publish and distribute reports from the Spotfire® dashboard would also come in handy in this case. Officials could easily schedule reports to send out to state governors with monthly updates on the data relevant for their region or state, ensuring that stakeholders are always informed and can quickly assess the situation as it relates to their particular domain.
The more we can learn about this growing problem, the better prepared public officials and policymakers can be to address it. Do you have data from something you are passionate about? Download your own 30-day free trial of Spotfire X and see how quickly you can get from data to insights.