Analytics giant SAS has unveiled a new app which will combine analytics and crowdfunding in a bid to tackle global humanitarian challenges.
The company said it hoped users of the GatherIQ app, launched on Monday (4 April) at the SAS Global Forum in Orlando, Florida, will be able to directly contribute to address some of the world's major issues.
The concept behind the app relies on users reading about a particular issue they are interested in, before answering a series of questions about the topic through the app, which SAS says will give organisations tackling that particular a better understanding of the efforts required.
"We want the public to help us in our mission to improve the world with analytics and data," said I-Sah Hsieh, SAS global manager for international development.
"You don't have to be a data scientist. Just have a curious mind and a desire to help humanity."
Hsieh drew attention to the ongoing migrant crisis, which has claimed an estimated 63,000 victims between 2000 and 2016, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
Through the app, users will be able to answer questions about the migrant crisis that the IOM needs assistance to analyse. Meanwhile, by using data provided by the IOM - such as migrant routes, locations and demographics - users can gather a better understanding of the trends surrounding the issue and can then share their insights to fellow users.
"The migrant crisis continues unabated. By better understanding the risks facing these people, we can do more to protect them," said IOM spokesman Leonard Doyle. "The more people we have analyzing the data and contributing to solutions, the more likely we are to save lives."
At the app unveiling, SAS said: "IOM will harness the power of the crowd to better understand what is really happening to these migrants and how the organisation can help them.
"Using data visualisation from SAS, users will see patterns and trends take shape. No matter how big or small, every insight matters."
SAS added it hopes the process will encourage members of the online community to contribute with one another to validate the findings. At the same time, users will be encouraged to share their findings with friends family and colleagues, in a bid to get them to participate in the project.
The North Carolina-based group added the app, which is currently available on the Apple Store and will soon be available to Android users, will be rolled out to a number of other non-profit organisations.
GatherIQ will also allow users to include analysis and data visualisation in academic project and research work.
"We encourage teachers, professors and students to integrate this project into their learning and research," said Hsieh. "Today's students want to make a difference in the world. With GatherIQ, they also gain data analysis experience that will help fill the looming data skills gap."