Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Data visualisation brings complex concepts to life. Government must fast-track its adoption and expand its scope

India’s rising population, which recently surpassed China’s, both qualitatively and quantitatively, has brought accompanying challenges. The country’s demographic diversity, spanning languages, cultures, and socio-economic strata, adds a layer of complexity to its data landscape. From healthcare and agriculture to urban planning and governance, decision-makers are increasingly being faced with mountains of data that need to be distilled for clarity.

As the traditional approaches of data analysis, often slow and cumbersome, are no longer applicable, there is an urgent need to deploy transformative technologies to meet this challenge.

Handling data deluge with Visualisation   

Data visualisation and analytics hold the key to unravel big data, providing context and relevance. It allows users to discover patterns in data, which may otherwise go unnoticed or get lost in data translation. The goal here is for the data to affect and guide future decisions. 

Data visualization brings illustrations, widgets, and text together into visually appealing and easy-to-digest charts, graphs, infographics, tables, histograms, and even heat maps. 

However, there is growing concern that the government of India is not fully tapping into the potential of data visualisation and analytics to extract meaningful insights from complex, voluminous datasets.

Visualising in pockets

During the COVID-19 pandemic, data visualization played a pivotal role in tracking the spread of the virus. Real-time dashboards allowed authorities to monitor infection rates, healthcare capacity, and vaccine distribution. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) uses data analytics to facilitate accurate monsoon predictions. During the Kerala floods of 2018, data visualization tools were employed to map affected areas, assess infrastructure damage, and allocate resources effectively. 

But such applications are far and few between. Integration of data visualisation & analytics into every aspect of India’s governance framework is no longer a choice, but a necessity.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare could harness the power of data analytics to predict disease outbreaks and optimize resource allocation for better patient outcomes. The ministry of agriculture, by analyzing weather patterns, soil data, and crop yields, could offer targeted advice to farmers.

By integrating data visualisation and analytics, city planners can develop smarter urban solutions and reduce congestion. By analyzing student performance data, educational institutions can identify areas needing improvement and tailor their teaching methods accordingly.

An evolving, competitive environment

Data landscape in India presents unique challenges due to factors like diverse languages, cultural variations and regulatory requirements. IBM and Microsoft’s data visualisation tools, i2 and Power BI, and Tableau, are advanced and proven technologies, but in India’s context, they may not necessarily be the ideal bet. There’s too much chaos, too many variables.

While these giants will continue to remain relevant and sought-after, local tech companies have a better understanding of the local market dynamics, enabling them to create more tailored solutions that address specific pain points related to data visualization. 

Besides Indian giants, like Tata Consultancy Services and Tech Mahindra, several companies have entered this domain.

“The effectiveness of any tech company, whether global or local, in addressing data visualization pain points in India will depend on its ability to understand the unique challenges of the region. I believe Indian tech companies will take center stage in the not-too-distant future,” said a spokesperson from ACSG Corp., a Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) company headquartered in New Delhi.

ACSG’s software, Instant Visualisation & analytics (IVA), offers inter-database mapping, displaying relevant results in graphical representation forms, like a pie chart and infographics. 

Thoucentric, a Bengaluru-based data visualisation start-up, creates process-based technology solutions by using analytics methodologies – predictive, prescriptive and cognitive to resolve operational issues. Incidentally, the start-up was recently acquired by US-based digital engineering service company, Xoriant, reflecting the potency and attractiveness of Indian start-ups. 

Reconsense Labs have enabled an independent interpretation tool for generating optimized meta-data for users. Their data analytics solutions incorporate ML and NLP frameworks to derive data based on user IPs.

From numbers to narratives, data visualisation and analytics is transforming India’s data landscape. Boardrooms, once ruled by monotonous rows and columns of figures, have experienced a remarkable metamorphosis. Governments are leveraging this technology to help citizens understand the complexities in information and data. The future could be getting clearer.