DataMovie makes visual sense of large amounts of data

24 Sep 2009
Keeping track of share price data is set to become easier with DataMovie, one of the entrants in the 2009 UQ Business School Enterprize competition. The team behind DataMovie has created an interactive application that graphically displays large amounts of data, allowing users to watch the data stream as a video, or interact with it by adjusting the speed, pausing, and rewinding the data. One of the most lucrative competitions encouraging entrepreneurship in Australia, the UQ Business School Enterprize competition offers teams from across the nation $100,000 in prize money without taking any percentage of future profits. Team leader and CEO of Victorian-based DataMovie, Ian Tebbutt, said Enterprize is 'a fantastic opportunity'. "The fact that we're a finalist blows me away, and has really given us confirmation that our idea has legs. You put a lot of time and effort in, and you're not sure others 'get it', and this is an affirmation that other people like our idea," he said. According to Mr Tebbutt, DataMovie was an idea 'at the back of my mind for quite some time'. "I thought changing the way you process information just to fit with computers was a big oversight. I traded gold shares for a while, and needed to look at the strong relationships between gold shares, the price of gold, the US dollar and the price of oil all at the same time. But you can't do this with charts, because they are only good at showing one thing," he said. When Mr Tebbutt found there was no computer applications which allowed him to do this, he turned to open-source libraries, which provide programs users can customise for their needs. "We realised we had a good opportunity when we found there were no animated data libraries available, but we just had to make sure there was a market too," he said. For a while he was his 'own customer', creating a prototype which took in streams of data, processed it with an animated data engine, and matched the data to the template users can see on screen. "Charting technology has changed little in 100 years, and I couldn't believe we haven't got better graphics by now. We evolved by tracking movement, so we understand and retain movement and patterns better than static information, but the only thing missing until now was the technology," Mr Tebbutt said. "DataMovie takes in streams of data, which you can speed up, slow down, or pause, much like you can do with TiVo for television shows." While the DataMovie team is currently focusing on displaying share data, Mr Tebbutt says people who have seen their technology want to adapt it for other uses. "Everyone I've spoken to has asked if it can do this or that. For example, you could use it to turn sports statistics into interactive information," he said. If Datamovie wins Enterprize, Mr Tebbutt said the team would use the funds for patenting, further technological development and marketing. "We've got a number of technologies we want to patent, and we would get the prototype up to the next level. The $100,000 would be some first-round funding, and would make the money we have all put into the company go just that bit further," he said. However, prize money aside, Mr Tebbutt said the DataMovie team 'has already won'. "Our usual competitors are other internet companies, but in Enterprize our competitors are from a diverse range of industries. We are a young company who has a lot to learn, and with Enterprize we can make contacts outside our industry. You wouldn't get this opportunity any other way, especially getting noticed by the investment community," he said. "We've won already. I don't know a better way to get a high profile, and Enterprize has given us all the exposure we need."