Did this Egyptian company predict the US election?

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Donald Trump’s election to the US presidency was a shock for many, but not so much for those who were willing and able to read the social media signs.

Twitter analytics software Tweet Elect, built by Egyptian company Badr IT, measured engagement with the official Trump and Hillary Clinton Twitter pages over a six day period, and showed that the size of interaction with Trump’s was three times the size of that for Clinton - 0.37 percent versus 12 percent.

Tweet Elect launched in September to cover the US presidential election, monitoring interactions by likes and retweets over specific days. The lowest interaction rate on Clinton’s page was 0.078 percent versus 0.284 percent on Trump’s page.

Tweet Elect analytics result. (Images via Badr IT)

Tweet Elect was a joint venture between Alexandria-based Badr IT and the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI).

Badr was launched in 2006 by seven founders and originally worked as an outsourcing shop for foreign tech companies. Recently it went back to its startup roots by starting to build its own products. Tweet Elect is the latest, merging big data analytics and a bit of machine learning.

“[Visitors can] identify the most influential tweeters by converting the number of tweets to diagrams. It allows the user to search for specific topics or download the most trending tweets in a given day or month,” said Badr product manager Mohammed Abdul Muttalib. “These are currently paid services.”

Candidate interactions on Twitter the month
before the election.

Badr It developed Tweet Mogaz in 2014 as a research project in the Qatar Computing Research Institute, targeting Arabic tweets. Once that was completed they joined the Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) acceleration program last February, and used the seed funding to build TweetElect.

The plan now is to integrate the best parts of each platform into a single, customizable product they can sell to companies wanting to track trends on Twitter, says Mohamed Kharashi, Badr IT CEO and cofounder.

10 years of work

Badr IT’s experience working for others meant they had a good understanding of big data software development before testing the waters in 2014.

Their clients include Seeloz, a shopping interactive platform that relies on big data and data search techniques; the American Incorta platform for real-time data analysis; and Grover, a UK ecommerce company which allows one month rental of electronic devices to be tested before purchase.

Kharashi believes that this is “the best proof of our company’s ability to develop an attractive technical product for investors”.

“The acute shortage of specialists in mobile applications development and big data analytics is perhaps the secret behind the success of outsourcing services,” he said.

Data analytics at a glance

Big data is a golden opportunity, for companies with the ability to both analyse the huge amounts of data they collect and act on the resulting conclusions.

A survey from Gartner in September 2015 said 75 percent of companies were investing or planning to invest in big data in 2016 and 2017, and an IDC report in the same year suggested the market was then worth $59 billion and could grow to $102 billion by 2019.

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