The energy market has never been more diverse. Waves, wind, and sun have been harnessed for power and we can access previously unavailable sources of oil, gas, and coal. Worldwide demand for energy rose by about one-third between 2000 and 2014 and will continue to grow in part due to urbanizing populations and the expansion of the middle class in China and other developing economies. Energy companies need to meet this demand as profitably as possible, even as markets continue to shift and change.
2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created each day, much from sources that didn’t exist ten years ago. The explosion of information from social platforms and the Internet of Things has created a data deluge. So, how can you use analytics to ride the wave instead of drowning in it? What can smart commodity market participants do to get the most value out of commodity analytics?
Gaining maximum value from big data requires companies to rethink how they approach analytics.
From being in the doldrums in 2015, commodities as an asset class rallied during 2016. Will 2017 Trump last year’s commodities revival? Exactly a year ago, I reflected on what had been a disastrous year for commodities, with all 18 of our most closely tracked assets languishing in the red in terms of price returns for 2015.
When computers were first developed, only people who knew operating system commands could use them. The advent of graphical interfaces changed that. Before the arrival of the internet, information was carefully curated and coded by librarians. Now anyone with a web browser has access to encyclopedias’ worth of information.
The commodities industry has always been data intensive, but the volume, velocity, and variety of data generated today is staggering. It is estimated that 90 percent of the world's data was created in the last two years, much of it from data sources that did not exist just a few years ago.
Donald Trump has vowed to reshape trade policy on day one of his administration – renegotiating NAFTA, stopping the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and attacking “unfair” trade deals. The United States is the world’s largest importer, and a shift in US trade policy could have far reaching consequences. The US imported $2.309 trillion worth of goods in 2015, including oil ($201.2 billion), metals ($60.2 billion), and chemicals ($52.1 billion). Commodity markets are already volatile, and no one knows what will happen come January 20. Have you adopted best practices for commodity trading? If not, you may not be prepared for what’s next.
Transforming wheat into flour and flour into cakes on a commercial scale offers plenty of opportunities for data analytics to make an impact. Efficient manufacturers use data and analytics to create streamlined operations where the right amount of every ingredient is in exactly the right place at exactly the right time. They can optimize scheduling and the use of equipment, so that neither raw materials nor finished goods waste time in storage.
Last week we questioned if analytics change the cost of Christmas, and the answer was an emphatic “Yes!” When you pick up your favorite holiday treats at the local market, odds are they include an international mix of ingredients. Sugar, flour, fruit, nuts, and dairy products are procured from all over the world. They must be shipped – sometimes thousands of miles – to be combined into your favorite treats.
Analytics is changing our lives. Thanks to Uber and its use of data and analytics, your annual holiday party is no longer followed by standing in the snow waiting for a cab. Thanks to Amazon’s data analytics, you know just the right books to buy for difficult relatives. Even your local supermarket is in on the act, using data analytics to create personalized offers.
But can analytics actually impact the price of your Christmas cookies? Emphatically, yes. In the next three Eka blogs we will explore the many ways analytics can impact the price of your holiday favorites.
Last year my daughter received a six inch, black and red toy drone that was capable of aerial tricks and able to be flown indoors. She thought it was “the coolest gift ever!” Today, I am reminded of that moment as I finish writing an article on Eka’s new Drone Project and realize toy drones are just the tip of the iceberg.