POSTED BY Trent Amos | POSTED IN Blog, LCO, Optimization, Technology

How Data Can Be Leveraged to Your Company’s Advantage—and Maybe Even Help You Get Out of a Speeding Ticket

You’re driving along the freeway one evening after work, going to meet friends for dinner at a local barbeque restaurant. Stuck in the middle lane behind a lawn-care truck and with an 18-wheeler to your right, you’re coasting along at a steady pace of about 65 miles per hour (mph) to keep up with traffic while remaining within the speed limit. A car that looks very similar to yours zips past you on the left going more than 80 mph. A short time later, you see and hear the dreaded flashing lights and sirens behind you. You’re about to become the unlucky recipient of a traffic ticket for driving 82 mph in a 65-mph zone. But why?

If this sounds like a specific example, it’s because it is. This happened to capSpire’s James Vogel in Dallas, Texas, a few weeks ago.

Most of us can relate to the experience of getting pulled over and ticketed. Many of us have an excuse, however lame, ready for the police officer. Some of us are certain we’re in the right and it’s all a mistake. James not only knows he was ticketed in error but he can prove it—with the power of data to back him up.

James is a capSpire data scientist and authors some of the company’s data-optimization software. He is certain the police officer mistook his Hyundai Sonata for the similar-looking Toyota Corolla that sped past him right before the police officer pulled him over. He knows this because he activated Google location history on his mobile devices. From reviewing his location history on a Google map, he was able to determine where he was at specific times on the date he was ticketed. Using the Haversine formula, he calculated that it would be impossible for him to be traveling at 82 mph when he encountered the police officer.

Will this argument be successful in traffic court? That remains to be seen—stay tuned.

This story underscores the point that data is already being collected by companies and used in unexpected ways to answer questions, glean better insight into issues, uncover trends, resolve problems, and improve results—including ways that are relevant for your organization. At capSpire, one of our core areas of expertise is helping clients to leverage data collected within commodity trading and risk management (CTRM) systems and other energy-specific source systems to improve business operations. 

Let’s use a related example to the speeding-ticket story. capSpire’s Lease Crude Optimization (LCO) product assists crude marketers and transportation organizations in expanding margins by optimizing pickup and drop-off locations. More generally the LCO tool optimizes strategic supply-chain decisions. That is, given a network of nodes with revenues and costs associated with them, the LCO tool finds the optimal configuration of connections between the nodes within the bounds spelled out by any constraints. Many users of the LCO product have some understanding of where their leases are located, but they primarily trust their haulers to tell them distances from point A to point B. capSpire uses GPS coordinates and a driving distance application programming interface (API) to more accurately calculate distances between locations. Users of the LCO tool have noticed a very nice side benefit to mapping out all these locations and their driving routes, they now have another source to confirm or refute their hauler’s prices. As you can see in the LCO delivery map below, users can see precisely where their leases are located and how much it should cost between locations, and, in this instance, the optimal delivery schedule to meet gravity and sulfur constraints on a station.

Much like James used data to confirm his car’s speed at a specific location and time, clients can use this data to optimize truck routing, enhance understanding of costs, and more easily catch costly diversions or billing mistakes.

Google is already likely tracking you. And your organization is already collecting data every day. Why not use your data to your advantage?

To learn more about data optimization and analytics, please visit https://www.capspire.com/analytics/. To ask questions or find out how you can start better leveraging data at your organization, email james.vogel@capspire.com. (He might even share a few tips for getting out of traffic tickets, too.)

Update:

James attended his court hearing and the case was dismissed. Congratulations to James!

                          


About capSpire

capSpire provides the unique combination of industry knowledge and business expertise required to deliver impactful business solutions. Trusted by some of the world’s leading companies, capSpire’s team of industry experts and senior advisors empowers its clients with the business strategies and solutions required to effectively streamline business processes and attain maximum value from their supporting IT infrastructure. For more information, please visit www.capspire.com.