Enlighten Designs has launched a data technology pilot with The Associated Press (AP), in a move designed to help the international news agency leverage Microsoft technologies to improve storytelling.
The Hamilton-based software developer will support a program that teaches journalists how to utilise analytics and visualisation tools through Microsoft Power BI.
Specifically, Enlighten Designs will assist AP in transforming streams of raw member and customer data into easily digestible information, capable of targeting local and regional audiences.
“Enlighten is looking to help data journalism move beyond data exploration,” Enlighten Designs CEO Damon Kelly said.
“This will allow reporters, bloggers, broadcasters, and analysts to spend their time telling stories rather than trying to make sense of large sets of data that are often hard to read and take a lot of time to browse through.”
Kelly said the pilot project will allow AP to use Power BI to expand the way it already shares data with its member news organisations and customers, utilising Enlighten’s design skills and tech capabilities in the process.
Consequently, Enlighten will help crunch data to create “simple interactive graphics” that visually show large sets of data in a “straightforward way”.
By including interactive visualisations along with the data, Kelly said the AP will make it easier for its members and customers to discover local stories and, with just a few clicks, create and publish localised interactive data visualisations to illustrate those stories with Power BI.
According to Kelly, the collaboration will enable local and regional news outlets to more easily uncover and report the data-driven local stories that are most interesting to specific audiences.
“The work we are doing with data visualisation allows journalists to quickly and easily see the data that is relevant to their region, which we know will be really useful in a wide range of circumstances from analysing election results, to comparing house prices in different suburbs,” Kelly explained.
“We are excited to be working with one of the world’s largest and most trusted news agencies to increase the adoption of relevant data storytelling in an impactful way.”
As one of the country’s leading software developers, Enlighten also specialises in system integration and website design, having been recognised as a finalist in the Data Platform and Analytics and Public Sector - Education categories at the Microsoft Partner Awards 2017 in New Zealand.
Based in Hamilton, the provider is listed on the New Zealand Government’s Web Services Panel and counts Waikato University, Mercury and Livestock Improvement Corporation as key customers.
“Enlighten are exceptional innovators consistently lifting the bar on how we use data,” Microsoft data and analytics manager Myles Matheson added.
“So it is gratifying to see a great Kiwi company like Enlighten using Power BI to make data work harder. We all have data pouring out of every bit of our business. However, utilising that data – clarifying it, distilling it, displaying it in vibrant way – is the key to competitive advantage.
“And Power BI, as shown by this exceptional AP example, is empowering journalists to realise the true potential of data.”
Matheson said New Zealand media organisations that subscribe to AP will be able to use the AP visualisations as they are released.