Economic Surveillance in a Modern Marketplace

While the idea of monitoring a company’s production may not be revolutionary, two things have always been true: Collecting the data has never been easy from the outside and, because it was expensive to collect, it was expensive to buy. It was a very tough game.

MoonVu is changing all of that by creating an entire marketplace platform and ecosystem dedicated to making data collection more cost-effective and it’s sale and distribution frictionless. Recently, there has been a growing reliance on expensive satellite imagery to watch businesses. MoonVu sees a simpler way, using ground-based video cameras and AI to automate what an individual can do with a notebook, pencil and a nice set of binoculars.

The idea of economic surveillance is as old as business itself. A barber could count customers in a rival shop. A car dealer could count inventory on a competitor’s lot. A chef could taste the food at another restaurant. The difference is the data historically collected was more anecdotal and directionally indicative, but not scalable or comprehensive. MoonVu will change that timeline by using video cameras to replace the human watcher and modern machine learning-based computer vision, plus counting algorithms, to replace the pencil and notebook.

The use for economic surveillance is not just limited to factory production numbers, or customers visiting a retail store. In fact, it has value beyond the measurements of a single company’s performance. Data gathered on how many people enter a grocery chain week-over-week can be a leading indicator that people may eat out less in coming months. A surge of traffic at hardware superstores might tell you the housing market is heating up. Seeing the parking lot packed at your closest luxury mall could be a sign the money supply is too loose or there is currently too much money in the system and inflation is about to rise. There is tremendous value in being able to measure these trends early—especially if it can be collected at a reasonable cost.

The different types of external data that can be gathered to benefit investors is enormous when you consider it’s as easy as pointing a video camera in the right direction. This value is critical to provide an information advantage for those who need insight in order to compete with Wall Street, or even on Main Street. Monitoring foot traffic, shipping rates and production is just a start, and MoonVu is at the forefront, creating a new marketplace where data farmers and investors can come together, transact and help one another.


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