The evolution of social media has led to individual users freely providing views online about any given topic. The aggregation and analysis of these opinions into big data sets have created a big business. Brands and marketers have developed a voracious appetite for such user sentiment data, as it is called.
Predicting user preferences can be used to drive critical business decisions. One example of this is a well-documented case involving an advertising campaign released by Expedia Canada. One McKinsey study estimated that analyzing big data could improve operating margins by up to 60%.
The challenges in big data
The availability of online user sentiment data is ever-expanding. However, the ability to capture, store, analyze and verify such data continues to be challenging. There are huge costs involved in the computing firepower and storage capacity needed to fuel sentiment analysis. Meaningful user sentiment data is therefore currently held by a few big companies, who proceed to sell it to other companies with sufficient purchasing power.
The centralization of user sentiment data within a small group of companies presents an additional issue beyond cost. Centralized servers are vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Data analysis is not done transparently, and may, therefore, be subject to manipulation.
Things could soon change. Blockchain startup Senno is gearing up to disrupt the status quo, with the world’s first decentralized sentiment analysis platform.
Blockchain solution with Senno
Using blockchain to perform user sentiment analysis allows decentralization of the computational power and storage needed to manage big data. In addition to spreading the costs of running the platform, this decentralized approach exploits the security of blockchain in being less vulnerable to cyber attacks. Blockchain also creates an immutable, auditable record of transactions, meaning that it would be extremely difficult for data manipulation to occur.
Blockchain-based Senno will leverage all of these benefits and more. The platform will feature an open API, enabling developers to create custom plugins and features. This will be accessible via the Senno app, which will allow users to purchase user sentiment data via various customized features, using the SENNO utility token as currency.
The SENNO token will also act as an incentive for node owners who provide the hardware that will power the platform, as well as for any developers delivering customized features and plugins. The token will also incentivize those who are consenting for their personal user data to be used as part of the sentiment analysis. Use of such data will be governed by smart contracts.
Advantages of the Neo blockchain
Senno is building its platform on the Neo blockchain, which it believes provides a number of advantages over other existing blockchain solutions such as Ethereum. Neo uses a delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance system as the consensus mechanism, as opposed to proof of stake or proof of work. This offers advantages for the implementation of smart contracts as it provides a higher level of integrity as well as being robust against crashes.
Another attraction of Neo is the planned offering of app and smart contract developments to be written in Python and Go, in addition to the current programming languages of Java and C#. This will open the doors for more developers around the world to get involved and create apps and custom features for the Senno platform.
How companies could leverage the Senno platform
Given the current prohibitive cost of entry, the arrival of Senno will allow small and medium-sized businesses unprecedented access to user sentiment data quickly and easily, using the app. For example, a small campaign on Kickstarter could utilize user sentiment data to allow its founders to easily investigate their target customer base before any budget is spent on product development or advertising.
Senno is already looking to develop partnerships with companies that can leverage the platform’s capabilities. The company’s whitepaper presents a partnership with Cryptoscanner, who are proposing to use the system to predict trends in the value of cryptocurrencies based on user sentiment data. The potential in this context alone makes it easy to see why Senno aims to capitalize on “a goldmine of sentiment data” available on the web.
The Senno presale started on March 31st with a cap of $4M. The full ICO is expected to go live in Q3 2018 with a hard cap of $25M.