In an article by Fortune by Heather Clancy, features a computer program called Banjo. This program “monitors billions of posts in real time across social networks including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Vine.” The program has two major functions. The first is that it can help a company monitor their social media campaign by scanning visuals associated with posts.
For example, Budweiser pays for this service and they can scan for their logo or product to see how people are interacting with their brand, even if posters don’t reference Budweiser or the campaign at all. It offers a great overall picture of how their campaign is working.
“More than 50% of videos and photos do not have meaningful text descriptions associated with them. By geofencing an area, creating an invisible fence, brands are able to see how people are interacting in real time,” says the creator Damien Patton.
Also, if people are at a concert and tweet “this line is too long”, the aggregator will pick it up and customer service can be improved.
The other side of this program, which I find all the more fascinating, is that it can scan social media posts and know when something is out of the ordinary in a specific location and report it.
Its analytics engine uses image-processing technology to parse photos and videos for certain characteristics, such as images of fire or smoke. It correlates those visuals with other public posts and comments emerging from the same location. For example, more posts with the words “explosion.”
The people behind this product knew about the March building explosion on New York’s lower east side a full 58 minutes before it was reported by the AP. They often know about fires and other catastrophic events, before the 911 calls go in. This product could revolutionize police and fire departments by reporting the anomalies as they occur. If firemen know about a fire 1 minute before the phone calls come in, getting there faster can make all the difference to their success.
In this video, the creator talks about how they used the program to aggregate social media posts during the Boston Marathon, and they were the first to be able to spot the suspicious man in the crowd.
“Banjo has the power to go back in time to any location in the world for an unplanned event that we didn’t even know was going to happen moments earlier…and find the answers.”