Data Analytics Project Uses Smartphone to Verify Employment

Google Maps Timeline for Izenda Embedded BI & Analytics ScholarshipToday’s the final chance for students to apply for the Izenda Embedded BI & Analytics Scholarship. We’ve received some interesting applications that intend to solve real-world problems, showing these students get the most important piece of business intelligence – asking the right questions.

We’ll start our selection process soon and notify the scholarship winner before making a general announcement through this blog and social media. But today, let’s take a look at a data analytics project inspired by events in the news.

Smartphone Data Verifies Address, Employment Habits

Daniel Suh attends St. John’s University as a graduate student. Learning about the FBI’s battle with Apple over accessing private data on a terrorist’s iPhone had him thinking about this issue from a different perspective. What if privacy laws weren’t an issue in an organization’s need to access data from someone’s smartphone?

Daniel knew that all of the privacy laws and regulations didn’t apply in background verification checks. His analytics project uses a prospective employee’s Google Maps history to help verify current and past addresses, employment and frequently visited places.

He used his own history and timeline as the data source. If you weren’t aware of this, Google Maps can keep track of where you visit if you allow history to be saved. Many of us do that rather than creating lots of “favorites” – we just visit our recent history for those places visited often when we need to check on traffic. Or maybe we’re heading to our favorite park, but just from a different location so we don’t know the way.

By examining the data for specified dates and date ranges, Daniel’s analysis determined that John started his day at a specific address was visited often enough that supported its designation as a home address. Data from John’s timeline also showed that he regularly visited the campus of St. John’s University, further support that he was a student at the time.

Regular visits to another location during a specified time in the past supported it as a place John used to work, but Daniel noted the data was not clear enough to be sure a specific business was the destination. Several other businesses were located in the same location or too close for Google Maps to differentiate.

Further analysis of his data revealed that John also visited a library, park and an address that may be a friend or relative.

“In conclusion based on the data and noting the margin of error, we can formulate a story and better understand John’s day to day lifestyle, however, we cannot confirm definite facts,” Daniel concluded in his analytics project. He said this data could be strengthened with the addition of other data sources, such as phone log history, text messages and photos – all also available via the smartphone.

The Scholarship

At Izenda, our mission is to create agile, embedded business intelligence solutions that empower ordinary people to make better business decisions by leveraging data in the applications they use every day. We are confident that a new generation is entering the workforce ready to change how BI solutions are designed to make them more powerful and usable. Soon we will award a $1,000 Izenda Embedded BI and Analytics Scholarship to one of the applicants, who all are undergraduate or graduate students currently enrolled in an accredited U.S. college or university and are interested in pursuing a career that leverages analytics to improve decision making and outcomes.

Visit our website to learn more about the scholarship application process and its rules. Students, with only a few hours left before the deadline at the end of the day (March 31, 2016), you’ve got one last chance to make an application. In the coming months we anticipate creating a new scholarship offering, so check back in this space.