Thursday, 16 July 2009

Real Time visualization - App Store Hyperwall


Sales in the iPhone App store have amazed a lot of people. Together with the popularity of the iPhone, or the other way round, the iTunes app store’s sales have rocketed sky high. Around 3000 apps per minute are sold online. A great success for Apple, and even though we are apple fans here, why should this feature on the blog?
Well, interesting is the visualization that has been produced to impress visitors at this years WWDC 2009. A massive Hyperwall with 16 screens shows the live sales directly from the app store (some 5 min delay).

PastedGraphic1.3YCKavzQIAk9.jpg
Image from Appleinsider

1__%23%24%21%40%25%21%23__PastedGraphic1.Sog3lJiebkvR.jpg
Image from flickr

This visualization is fascinating because it shows the rather virtual activity of the iTunes store. People are downloading applications for their iPhones/iPod touch’s in thousands per minute. The wall visualized live which of the 20’000 most popular app is sold with a blink of this apps icon. The screen is ordered according to colour that makes it look nice, is otherwise probably not helpful. It shows the variety of apps and starting to categorize them would probably only end in a very confusing table with sub tables. As it is live one could probably stand there and buy an app and watch the icon go blink. I can imagine that this could become addictive.
The time in visualization has always been, but has recently become much more important. It still is a very difficult element to usefully integrate, but in this case it serves brilliantly the purpose.
It needs a lot of processing power, as you have read above in apple’s statement. 20 Mac Pro towers are running for this visual, very impressive.

Hyperwall in WWDC 2009, Live from App Store from Imagebakery on Vimeo.



Some more, almost realtime project I came across:
Facebook activity around the globe by facebook “This video showcases a Hackathon project that visualizes all the data Facebook receives.”



Or real time data visualization of data traffic in the network of Deutsche Telecom in Germany

zumkukuk01.RfRhO9GvyuMb.jpg
Image by zumkukuk

Clip can be seen here.

Experiments have also been undertaken by the MIT sensableCity lab. Their best known example is probably the Rome Real TIme work for the Biennale. They were using six different types of real time visuals to draw a comprehensive picture of the city. The data came live from the Italian Telephone company where sent to the US to the MIT lab to be processed and be made available as a download for the mobile stations in Rome. Not strictly real time but with some 10min delay still fairly quick. A similar project was run on Obama’s inauguration day in Washington earlier this year. See earlier post on this blog, but in this case it was not processed immediately.

RomeRealTIme.wBVxrxT4gff4.jpg
Image from senseableCity

The visualization of the cell phone activity during the Madonna concert in August 2006 in Rome.

Rome mobile phone activity from realtime city on Vimeo.



And a second visualization of pedestrian real time activity based on cell phone data.

Pedestrians and public transport in Rome from realtime city on Vimeo.