Banjo: The Future of Social Media

alliebradford    July 8, 2018

Technology and technological advancements move at a rapid pace. We now have more power in our pockets than ever before, and the possibilities seem endless. The Internet of Things, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have been a fascinating concept of science fiction for decades, but now it’s a reality. As social media and technology continue to develop, other technologies will advance too, and organizations of all shapes and sizes will be affected – but how?

It’s no surprise that technological advances will impact organizational social media use. Organizational use of integrated social media will be complemented and impacted by the technological advances that we will see in future years. However, it is difficult to predict the precise nature of these advances or their impact. One thing is for certain though, and that is that social media usage will not happen in isolation – other technological advances will take place and may create opportunities for future performance improvement.

For example, the “Internet of Things” (IoT), is a concept which describes the connection of objects to the internet. In organizations, the internet of things takes shape in the many types of devices used to accomplish day-to-day activities, such as reporting equipment, workplaces with sensors and controllers that adjust environmental conditions, security management tools, etc. The growth of the internet of things has already impacted the use of social media in organizations and is likely to continue to do so.

Currently, much work is being done on Artificial Intelligence (AI), and how to make information technology machines more intelligent and reason more like humans. As artificial intelligence continues to develop, workplaces will change.  Products and services will change as it becomes possible to produce things more cheaply. Data gathered from social media will be processed by artificial intelligence-based devices and will be done more effectively. Their data analytical capabilities will create more rapid understanding of a more rapidly-changing world, enabling organizations to respond and change themselves more quickly too.

Take Banjo for example. Banjo is a mobile technology that provides real time content discovery by location across all major social networks (Faceboook, Twitter, Instagram etc.). The software company that utilizes artificial intelligence to comb through social media and identify real-time events. The company was developed after the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 and uses an “event-detection engine” as a way for interested parties/stakeholders to analyze social media in order to make better decisions, move faster, and interact with people on a global scale.  Users simply plug in the location and any desired keywords and Banjo will display a map with all of the public posts appearing in chronological order with text, photos, and videos alongside it. All of this, in real time.

The software itself begins with a virtual grid of more than 35 billion squares, programmed as an overlay on the entire globe. Through the use of complex algorithms, the software monitors every square in the grid, maps every geotagged public post made on a mobile device to any social network, and establishes a baseline condition for each square on the global grid. As geotagged posts become visible to Banjo, the software compares them with the baseline condition and triggers an alert if there are deviations from the normal state. For example, a sudden surge in the word gun, or images of fire or smoke in a typically calm area, would trigger an alert to Banjo’s headquarters, where a handful of humans would then assess the alert and either confirm or disregard it. This is exactly what happened with the Florida State University shooting, where Banjo’s software recognized an anomaly in the geographic grid thanks to a surge in Twitter and Instagram posts that had the phrase “scared shitless”.

Damien Patton, founder and CEO, views Banjo not simply as a consumer product, but rather, as a platform and underlying intelligence that will disrupt industries on a global scale – and it’s true. Banjo’s technology can (and has) impact businesses in all industries, including financial services, government services, marketing, news and media, insurance, and more. Since it combines location with photo classification, analytics, and rewind capabilities, users can see what happened just before an event, and make adjustments accordingly. Thus, Banjo not only transforms how social media is consumed, but also its utility and value. Essentially, Banjo turns your phone into a drone.

For example, Banjo allows news operations to perform several feats they could not previously, as with the case of the FSU library shooting. Banjo is typically the first channel to become aware of any significant news and can then inform news outlets of the events. Once alerted, a news director can then use Banjo’s software to virtually travel to the scene and see what is being posted and discussed there. This is why key media outlets such as NBC and ESPN are paying customers of Banjo.

The software also has, and will, impact financial service industries. For example, Banjo had alerted a diesel pipeline fire 2 hours prior to the first media report being released. Within this time frame, the price of Brent Crude futures had rise $2 per barrel. “A $2 move in the price of oil? That’s crazy big,” says Glocer, the Morgan Stanley board member. “If you had a 10-second lead on a likely 10 cent move in the price of oil, you could trade and make a lot of money.” Glocer is convinced that Banjo will become a powerhouse in financial services, drawing a comparison to a Bloomberg terminal, where “people pay $25,000 apiece for [annually] in order to have a constantly updating feed of what’s going on in the world.” He also sheds light on some of the other promising future applications of Banjo, like for pharmaceuticals and insurance. “Would they like to see if someone walked away from a supposedly debilitating crash? I think they would!”

The potential for Banjo’s technology is staggering. In an “Internet of Things word”, the amount of data is impalpable. The concept of “social listening”, the idea of tracking data through the social web, is a relatively new concept, and one that has already been discussed in previous posts. However, Banjo is taking it to the next level, and is creating something radically new and different, that of “visual listening”. Banjo’s visual listening capability is a function of what seems to be a major step forward in photo classification technology. According to Patton, Banjo combined two analytical techniques that “never would have been mixed before–and because we mixed it, it unlocked a ‘Holy shit!’”

As Banjo’s algorithms improve, the software will become even more powerful, and the future applications seemingly limitless. Banjo is starting to recognize underlying patterns that could lead to predictive capabilities and can detect things surrounding planned events within an hour and a half to two hours before they start. Patton says the National Weather Service has already approached him about building out an alert system.

Lessons for Others

The future impact of social media on organizations is based on the expected progression in the adoption of social media and technologies. It is expected that the continued and effective use of social media with other integrated information technology-based systems, will increase organizational performance. Social media has enabled organizations to more easily operate internationally, cooperating over long distances and many time zones. By enabling organizations to collaborate more effectively globally, to take advantage of access to extensive data, and to innovate and change more quickly, social media creates organizations that can better compete. Most forecasters predict that globalization, social media, and information technology-based systems will continue to increase in the future. Those organizations that have developed their capabilities in working with social media will be better placed to adapt.

Organization: Banjo
Industry: Information Technology
Name of Organization Contact: Damien Patton

Authored by: Allie

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.


References

Bourne, W. (2015). The Most Important Social Media Company You’ve Never Heard of. Inc Magazine. Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/magazine/201504/will-bourne/banjo-the-gods-eye-view.html

Carr, P. (2018). Social Media for Business Performance. Course Material Week 8: Future Development. Retrieved from https://learn.uwaterloo.ca/content/enforced/373949-CE-SMBP100_002_cel_1185/lecture-content/weeks/week8/week8.html?ou=373949

Inc.(2015). The Story of a Social Media Disrupter: Damien Patton, Banjo. Youtube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSiG5UsS3sY

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