Posts by Maryl Curran Widdows

Rhiza named Tech 50 and Pittsburgh 100 finalist for second year in a row


Rhiza is proud to announce that we are a finalist for the Pittsburgh Technology Council’s Tech 50 award. The award honors southwestern Pennsylvania’s most successful and innovative technology companies. Winners will be announced on October 10 at the Tech 50 event. For more information on the event, visit the Pittsburgh Technology Council.

pgh100-logo-smallAnd, since we’re already in bragging mode, we might as well mention we also made the Pittsburgh 100 list this year too. The Pittsburgh 100 list is published every year by the Pittsburgh Business Times, ranking the region’s fastest growing companies. The final rankings will be announced at an award ceremony on August 22, 2013 and released by the paper the following day.

Wish us luck. We love winning awards!

Introducing Rhiza Analytics

As we welcome the new year, we also welcome the official launch of Rhiza Analytics.


Robust, yet easy to use, Rhiza Analytics handles big data with ease, providing quick answers to complex questions with stunning visuals and elegant reports. Rhiza Analytics provides deep customer insights and clear recommendations for a variety of industries, with an early focus on helping media companies sell more targeted advertising.

Offered as Software as a Service, Rhiza Analytics can be deployed in weeks, not months and brings data together from all of your public, syndicated and enterprise sources to produce dynamic, actionable reports that are tailored to your business workflow.

Please take a look around our new website and let us know what you think.

From all of us at Rhiza, we wish you a very happy new year!

Anticipating Customer Behavior… Before It Happens

Each year, in anticipation of Black Friday, retailers try to predict hot ticket items and holiday trends; how much consumers will spend and on what. But thanks to big data analysts like Rhiza, guesswork is becoming so twentieth century.

Retailers now track customer purchases closely, whether through customer loyalty programs or information purchased through a third party, such as credit card providers. By analyzing data on how different types of consumers behave, and at specific times of the year, businesses are better able to suggest new purchases that fit their buying profile. Retailers can even anticipate their customers’ needs and suggest appropriate upcoming purchases.

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but if the old dog in question happens to be an ingrained consumer habit, you may not have to teach new tricks to be satisfied with the old dog’s actions. You can just tailor your actions to suit the client better.

To capitalize on all that amassed data, however, businesses need to identify what kind of data they need and the questions they want to answer. At Rhiza, we work with our customers to help make it possible.

Rhiza Announces Opening of West Coast Office in Seattle

West Coast office helps Rhiza support growing market demand for easy, online location intelligence tools for streamlined business decision-making.

Photo credit: Seattle Summer by .Bala via flickr

Pittsburgh, PA (December 5, 2012) – Rhiza Labs will celebrate the opening of operations in Seattle in January. While Rhiza’s headquarters will remain in Pittsburgh, PA, the addition of a West Coast office will help Rhiza provide better service to its existing and prospective clients in the West.

“We are excited to engage more directly with innovators on the West Coast who support Rhiza’s mission of moving business analysis solely from the control of analysts and geeks into the hands of executives, salespeople and project managers.” said Josh Knauer, Rhiza CEO.

Rhiza’s cloud-based tools help clients like Comcast, the U.S. Department of Energy and Dunn & Bradstreet embrace data-driven decision-making. Rhiza’s clients sell more effectively through micro-targeting, evaluate key performance indicators faster and discover new business opportunities.

Rhiza also announced it has named Maryl Widdows as Vice-President of Sales and Marketing to help lead the West Coast expansion. “Maryl has been a member of the Rhiza management team from the beginning. She brings a deep understanding of the business intelligence challenges our customers face and will be able to provide a high level of personalized service to our West Coast customers.” said Knauer.

About Rhiza

Winner of InfoWorld Magazine’s Top 10 IT Project Award, Rhiza is an acknowledged innovator in the design and deployment of online tools for decision-makers.  Rhiza’s location intelligence applications integrate and illuminate data from a variety of sources, providing meaningful ways for businesses to better understand their customers, assets, operations and stakeholders. For more information about Rhiza, visit

*UPDATE* Coverage of this story in: Pittsburgh Business Times, Puget Sound Business Journal and Directions Magazine

Rhiza helps the Tides Foundation with the Never Ending Data Story

One of our customers, the Tides Foundation, recently partnered with Rhiza to analyze the impact of its grantmaking activities. Irene Kao, Project Manager for the Impact and Innovation Department at Tides talks about her experience of using Rhiza Upshot to bring their data to life to tell a continuous story that is meaningful, dynamic, and actionable in a recent blog post on NTEN’s Non-Profit Technology Blog.

Below is a map created by Irene using Rhiza Upshot that looks at the location of the education grants awarded by Tides in 2010 alongside contextual data about the areas of the country where the education needs are the greatest. Irene looked at indicators like per pupil public school funding, reading proficiency, and high school graduation rates. The result was an easy to understand visual framework that can be used to facilitate new conversations about education funding decisions going forward.

In the NTEN blog Irene says “The map, then, becomes the beginning of a story that continues with partner discussions around strategy and what the work looks like in a year, in two years, and onward. By harnessing quantitative data, our community begins a kind of qualitative “choose-your-own-adventure” story – one that empowers people to make decisions based on firmly anchored information and desired impact.”

For a closer look at how Tides is measuring impact, read Irene’s blog post on NTEN’s Non-Profit Technology Blog.

Valentine’s Day in Data: Chocolate World Map

Valentine’s Day is a big day for those of us who love chocolate. According to Nielsen, 58 million pounds of chocolate is sold during Valentine’s week. Who’s eating all that chocolate? Who’s selling it? Who’s producing it? Take a look at our Chocolate World Map to get the full story.

Some highlights – the Germans take the cake with a total of 24.5 lbs of chocolate consumed per person each year. That’s twice as much as the average American consumes. The top chocolate candy company by revenue has long been Mars, Inc, but with Kraft’s recent acquisition of Cadbury, we expect Kraft will move from 6th place to 1st place very soon. The top exporter of cocoa is Côte d’Ivoire, which produces a whopping 1,222,000 metric tonnes per year, almost twice as much as the next largest producer.

As you may have guessed, we built all of this using our Rhiza Upshot software, which makes it really easy to collect data from existing sources (or create new feeds of data) and then publish map-based analysis of that data to the web, Google Earth, Powerpoint and lots of other useful places. Feel free to contact us if you’d like to add this type of powerful tool for your work.

All of us at Rhiza would like to wish you a happy Valentine’s Day. We’ll be celebrating with a bit of chocolate this afternoon and think you should too!

Rhiza Labs CEO, Josh Knauer, Appointed to Working Group of President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology

White House Photo Credit flickr/HarshLight

Rhiza Labs is proud to announce that our CEO, Josh Knauer, has been appointed to a working group of President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). This Federal Advisory Committee is comprised of leading scientists and engineers, appointed by the President to augment the science and technology advice available to him from inside the White House and from cabinet departments and other federal agencies.

Drawing on Josh’s long history of involvement in conservation issues and data management, he will begin his contribution to the Council by helping the Working Group on Biodiversity Preservation and Ecosystem Sustainability (BPES) identify research priorities and best practices in data management, necessary for protecting biodiversity and managing ecosystems.

Josh is also leading an initiative to deliver recommendations for standardizing how open data can be defined, collected and published by federal agencies.  As a pioneer of open data initiatives for non-profit and government clients, Josh has first hand experience helping organizations be more effective in data sharing, analysis and visualization and systems that facilitate collaboration.

Have any recommendations for Josh to consider as part of his work with PCAST working group?  He’s specifically looking for public examples that show off some of the best/cutting edge practices in data sharing and collaboration. Share your comments below, follow him on Twitter and Facebook. You can also read more about Josh’s activities.

From the filing cabinet to the web: Nation’s jazz archives go online

Imagine easy online access to everything you wanted to know about live jazz performances in America. What was the top tune played last year?  How many people attended live jazz shows? How did the set lists differ for the same artist on different nights?  What did it sound like when two artists played together for the first time?

Next month, MCG Jazz will launch a new Rhiza Folio website about jazz, marking the beginning of an ambitious project to organize and publish details about historical and upcoming jazz performances across the country.

The vision for this project originates with MCG Jazz, one of the top jazz presenters in the world, located right here in Pittsburgh, PA.  MCG’s Executive Producer, Marty Ashby hopes the website will be able to answer the question “What is the State of the Union of Jazz in America”, whether he’s looking at last year’s season or summary data for ten performance seasons.

The website will provide statistics and details about audiences, artists, venues and tunes, along with rich archive material like photos, video and audio clips as well as historical documents, like hand written set lists.  The site will not only help the public access our nation’s jazz archives, it will also help jazz presenters gain valuable business insight into factors that drive ticket sales and sponsorship agreements.

Major jazz organizations across the country have expressed interest in joining the project, including Jazz at Lincoln Center, the The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Association for Performing Arts PresentersMonterey Jazz Festival, San Jose Jazz, Smithsonian Institution, All About Jazz, Stanford Jazz Workshop, SFJazz and more.

Stay tuned to hear more about this project in July.

Free Webinar – Getting Started with Online Mapping

Interested in learning more about online mapping?

Join us for our latest webinar – Getting Started with Online Mapping.   This 40 minute webinar will present an overview of the latest advances in online mapping with Rhiza Insight and Google Maps.

We have two sessions scheduled this week.  Tuesday, June 8th at 12pm ET and Thursday June 10th, at 3pm ET.


Want to schedule a demo?

Get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to set up a time.