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How Businesses Can Benefit from Data Augmentation Solutions

In a hyper-connected world, it’s safe to say that data is the commodity of the digital sphere. Businesses across industries now use existing data or collect the necessary information to drive strategic decisions.

In fact, data is becoming the foundation of various business models. From connected cars to healthcare to manufacturing, data is now a business imperative. In marketing, for example, companies can leverage data to predict trends and identify opportunities to boost their bottom line.

However, managing oceans of data from disparate sources is challenging. Furthermore, it’s vital to access valuable insights in a timely manner. That’s where data augmentation comes to the rescue.

This article focuses on how data augmentation can help you automate organizational processes, foster informed decision-making, save costs, and more.

Table of Contents

What is Data Augmentation?

Data augmentation is a progressively popular data analysis technique that increases the generalizability of overfitting data models. By marginally changing and making copies of existing data or by creating new synthetic data from existing data, data augmentation helps increase the quantity of representative data.

Now, why is data augmentation important?

As machine learning (ML) rapidly expands, data augmentation makes it easier to make sense of new information. It increases operational performance, ripens data, and boosts the accuracy of ML models.

Augmented data management uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help data analysts and scientists enhance data management tasks. Manually, these tasks are time and resource intensive. 

Automated data management includes but isn’t limited to the following:

  • Data cleansing
  • Resolve data quality
  • Spot anomalies in large datasets
  • Trace the origin of specific data
  • Transform datasets

 

Data Augmentation Use Cases and Techniques

Computer Vision and Image Classification

Data augmentation can help data models with visual transformation protocols recognize objects and help make intelligent decisions. 

Data augmentation creates new synthetic images by leveraging generative adversarial networks (GANs) and unity game engines. Moreover, color space and geometric augmentation diversify existing image models to assist ML tasks like the following:

  • To create noise in blurry images 
  • To crop a selected image and resize it to the initial image size
  • Horizontal and vertical flipping by rearranging pixels while preserving image quality
  • 360-degree image rotation, creating a unique image in the model 
  • Outward or inward scaling, creating smaller or bigger images than the original size
  • To translate object position along the x-axis or y-axis in the image space
  • To change brightness levels, allowing data models to recognize images in various lighting levels
  • To adjust image contrast, creating new images with different color aspects
  • To change color and saturation level

Natural Language Models

Data augmentation techniques help better manage language models on a character and word level. For example, we can leverage data augmentation for translation purposes or to insert random words, characters, and sentences.

Data augmentation can also be used to:

  • Delete random text
  • Generate text variations with a minimum viable input
  • Replace a word with a synonym
  • Substitute text blocks 
  • Shuffle words and sentences
  • Swap random text 

 

Check out how we performed hardware specific optimizations for Natural Language Translator algorithm

Audio Models

Sometimes, data scientists have to extract meaningful data from long audio files. Below are scenarios where data augmentation comes in handy in identifying, editing, and enhancing such auditory data.

 

  • Changing audio speed from the original state 
  • Cropping out audio content for individual analysis or removing unnecessary components
  • To inject noise
  • To mask frequency 

What Are the Key Data Augmentation Challenges?

Augmented data sets can be more than a handful to analyze individually and manually. Companies must invest in top data talent or build evaluation systems to appraise quality. This is quite challenging, as data augmentation multiplies available data with variations or added finesse.

Advanced applications demand augmentation domains to research, learn more, and create new and valuable data. For example, generating high-resolution imagery using GANs will be challenging without data augmentation.

Original data often contains bias. As such, augmented data could carry forward the same tendency. Data scientists and engineers must identify and prioritize data augmentation strategies to eliminate data bias from the source.  

What Are the Key Data Augmentation Benefits for Business?

Improve Model Prediction Accuracy 

As data contains structured and unstructured information, data scientists must mine hidden, unrecognized data trends to forecast behavior. By using data augmentation, enterprises can increase model prediction accuracy. 

They can achieve this by:

  • Adding more trained data into existing models
  • Boosting the generalization ability of existing models
  • Eliminating or preventing data scarcity
  • Reducing data overfitting and creating a variety
  • Resolving class imbalance in data classification

Reduce Data Collection and Labeling Costs

Collecting data takes time, and it costs money. Identifying raw data such as images, texts, and videos and labeling them for management purposes also requires extra focus. Data augmentation provides a business advantage because of its automation capabilities. It significantly helps organizations cut data collection and labeling costs.

Enable Rare Event Prediction

Rare event predictions prepare companies for rare or low-probability occurrences. For example, automobile manufacturers can predict failures in their automated production sequences. Data augmentation enables such rare event predictions, creating space to manage anomalies earlier on. 

Conclusion

As AI and ML protocols evolve, data augmentation will be at the heart of natural language processing and image recognition. It will drive the connected car industry, the medical imaging arena, and much more.

However, data augmentation is far from a straightforward turnkey solution. It has its advantages and disadvantages but is extremely useful when used appropriately. This is because data augmentation can increase the performance of data models significantly. 

Going forward, we can expect data augmentation present new opportunities, especially for companies that rely heavily on data for business operations.

The healthcare industry is using data augmentation to find tumors. Self-driving cars use this technique to improve their machine learning process with real-world simulations. What comes next in the months ahead remains to be seen.

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