Introducing Data Lake SQL Connector: Automatically Export Aislelabs Analytics to the BI Dashboard of Your Choice

Connect Aislelabs with Enterprise-wide Business Intelligence Dashboards like Tableau and PowerBI

Everyone knows data is valuable. Enterprises use it to gain a competitive advantage and win with the agility and insights it provides—but it is always challenging to bring all your data sources together. Feats of data engineering and orchestration requires expertise outside of a business’ core competencies and is almost always expensive.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you were able to access all your data no matter where it is managed? To search across your sources as if it were in a single space? Keeping this in mind, we have designed a Data Lake SQL Connector for you to explore Aislelabs data directly in the Business Intelligence (BI) tool of your choice.

Interactive, front-end business intelligence platforms such as Tableau, Power BI, Domo, and Qlik can now simply access Aislelabs data through the Data Lake SQL Connector. As a business user, you can query data on demand from a single point of access to receive a unified view of your sites by seamlessly connecting Aislelabs location intelligence with all your cloud sources.

So, why do you need it?

It’s all about the data. As an enterprise, you want to spend less time on collecting, modelling, ingesting, integrating, monitoring, and governing your location intelligence data. Aislelabs’ Data Lake SQL Connector handles the heavy lifting, allowing you to focus on decision making.

You have many internal databases such as sales revenue, web analytics, customer support metrics and sq. ft. leasing information. Analyzing your proprietary information with Aislelabs’ location intelligence to drive insight requires a BI tool with access to both your proprietary data and Aislelabs metrics.

While your power users can continue to use Aislelabs UI for deep dives into insights for your brick and mortar locations, you’ll also want to provide analytics from Aislelabs along with all other data sources to a larger group of team members. The Aislelabs Data Lake SQL Connector will allow you to expose key metrics from Aislelabs insights directly to an SQL database which can be queried directly by a BI tool like Tableau, PowerBI, and many more.

This means, you will be able to get more value and answer business specific questions or build your unique solutions with Aislelabs data in a way that suits your business needs.

Isn’t it the same as APIs?

Yes and no.

Aislelabs has an extensive set of REST APIs. These APIs allow you to pull data from Aislelabs in JSON format. While APIs are very flexible, in order to use them you need to write a program to fetch, process, and store data from the APIs. This includes:

  • Fetching data from the API on a periodic basis, such as every minute, once an hour, or once per day.
  • Parse the fetched data to extract needed metrics. APIs provide a number of metrics in a JSON format and the program needs to parse the JSON to extract and save them.
  • Create a local database to store the extracted metrics. An example would be creating a table to store the number of visits and site dwell time by day in an SQL table.
  • Use the local SQL database with your BI tool of choice to make custom dashboards.

While errors are rare, they do happen. For example, sometimes the network temporarily fails and API calls time out. Any program needs to have logic to recover from such temporary errors and have a robust alerting and monitoring built-in.

Creating such a program is not difficult for a technically savvy team. But a lot of Aislelabs’ users are not technology companies. Hence this seemingly simple task of using the APIs may turn out to be a long or expensive process. Therefore, we have created the Data Lake SQL Connector which simplifies using Aislelabs data without needing any technical expertise.

What will you be able to do?

Data Lake SQL Connector module pushes aggregated Flow analytics to an SQL database of your choice. This database is then automatically updated with visits, dwell time, and associated analytics on an hourly and daily basis. Aislelabs ensures that this database is always consistent with the master data in Aislelabs servers. Monitoring and alerting of discrepancies or edge cases will also be taken care of by Aislelabs giving you the peace of mind that the latest and correct version of data is available to you at all times.

Many Aislelabs customers use Azure SQL and, in this case, an SQL database will be provisioned on Azure. This database will contain tables with aggregated Aislelabs Flow data. You can connect the BI tool of your choice, Tableau, PowerBI, or other, with this database and start creating dashboards and reports right away.

What will you not be able to do?

Data Lake SQL Connector module is not designed to replace the APIs but to complement them. This module provides a list of commonly used metrics without the complexity of the APIs or the Aislelabs User Interface and should prove sufficient for the majority of customers. However, if you are conducting advanced analytics such as detailed walking path analysis, reports with custom filters or investigating multiple spaces at the same time, we recommend you continue to use Aislelabs UI. The Design philosophy for this module is to provide commonly used metrics in an easy to deploy fashion, rather than being exhaustive to cover all metrics and user cases.

As of February 2020, this module is designed to push only anonymous Aislelabs Flow data. In future, this will be extended to cover Connect data as well.

Can you explain it again visually?

The image below shows the data flow without the new Data Lake SQL Connector from Aislelabs. Data is collected from WiFi access points, which is sent to Aislelabs cloud for processing and stored in database on Aislelabs’ private secure cloud. This data is accessible via interactive web based dashboards or via APIs. If Aislelabs’ customers want to use the APIs, they can develop a program to periodically pull the data from the API and store it in database on their end.

Next image shows the data flow with the new Connector. In this case, the previous two options of UI and REST APIs are still available. A new third option is added, whereas the database resides on the customer’s end (or in say customer managed Azure SQL) but Aislelabs ensures that the database is always up-to-date with Flow analytics data. In this case, Aislelabs pushes the aggregated Flow data to the customer database automatically and keeps it in sync with master database on the Aislelabs’ end. Keep in mind, not all metrics are pushed, so it does not replace the APIs or the UI, but provides turn-key access to most commonly used metrics without needing any additional engineering work by the customer.

What are the advantages?

  • Comprehensive – Want to customize Aislelabs to create charts and graphs with your data? Create your own custom pages, user interface, metrics, and KPI’s in a way which empowers your teams.
  • Agile – Connect your location intelligence data with other sources. Data Lake provides all pre-computed Flow metrics which can be merged with your existing data sets.
  • Ease of use – No need to integrate between systems using APIs, requiring custom coding processes, programming, or maintenance. Asielabs Data Lake connector serves as a natural extension of your BI tool.
  • Scalability – Choose how many databases you want and how your data should be organized in the Data Lake. Aislelabs auto scalable model automatically adjusts capacity according to your usage and needs.
  • Savings – Aislelabs manages all aspects of pushing the data to you, including error recovery, alerting, changes, and monitoring. All this significantly reduces personnel costs.
    So how do you deploy it?

Contact your Aislelabs sales representative to discuss options and pricing of the Data Lake SQL Connector add-on module. Once this module is added to your subscription, an SQL database will be provisioned to push Aislelabs’ Flow data.

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Aislelabs is the leading global provider of enterprise software for marketing automation, location analytics, predictive intelligence, and combining online and offline customer touchpoints. The company serves customers across verticals including retail, transportation, hospitality, venues, and F&B.

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