Employee Spotlight: Vish Shelar, Data Scientist

Written by Aliana Heffernan

Aug 28, 2019

vish

Meet Vish - our in-house data scientist who has been a part of the Vistar family for nearly two years. After receiving his undergraduate degree in engineering at the University of Pune, Vish went on to work for Accenture, the non-profit ARGO, and did a project for the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission while completing his Masters in Urban Informatics, Vish began working in the analytics team, helping to ensure Vistar’s data quality. When he’s not tackling the unique challenges of audience location data, you can find Vish getting involved in the latest activities at Vistar, from kickball to game night, or practicing mixed martial arts, like muay thai and jiu-jitsu. Recently, we spoke with Vish to learn more about his role and experiences since joining Vistar.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself

I love teaching. My favorite subject to teach is math! I will always have a fun math trick for you. Did you know… there are more than 1 infinities?!

What is the most interesting part of your job?

The ability to research and implement new methods/technologies to solve business problems. Right now, I get to work closely with product, analytics and Cortex. Each team has its own unique business requirements and data. Being in NYC, I get to see both the business and technical sides of the Vistar ecosystem and sometimes contribute to develop it further.

What’s involved in your day-to-day responsibilities? 

I spend most of my time in research &development of data prototypes for the projects I am working on. I am also involved in helping, among others, the analytics and product teams by creating mini data pipelines and tools for internal use. Also, I have to analyze new data sets from our data partners and figure out ways to make it useful for our clients.

Can you share how Vistar determines whether or not a data set is scalable for our clients? 

Vistar is data-agnostic, so we work with a variety of data providers and data sets. Each new data set requires a unique analysis to ensure it is viable, and that it will allow our teams to provide the most value for our clients. Of course, data quality is one of the most important aspects we address in analyzing any new data set, so we’ve developed a robust system that checks various metrics to evaluate the accuracy and quality of a dataset. It’s equally important, however, to ensure that data sets are scalable (volume) and that there is enough spread (data set is representative of the actual population) to ensure that they can be used to create audiences or provide actionable, statistically significant results from a measurement perspective.

Vistar’s audience targeting and measurement capabilities have grown tremendously in the past few years. What would you say are the most unique features of our data offering? 

We provide a variety of targeting options - triggers, zip code targeting, proximity, audience targeting, etc, but in addition to these ‘standard’ offerings, we have the ability to develop custom audiences or layover different types of targeting together. Since we use geospatial data to power our audience targeting, one of the cool features we have is that we understand the movement of our audience, so we can reach them at multiple touchpoints throughout the day. 

Our measurement offerings are vast and built to provide actionable insights for a wide variety of campaigns that can be used to guide strategy across future campaigns. 

You work on a lot of unique research projects - can you describe some things you’ve been working on? 

The most recent project I am working on is with the Cortex team. Our Cortex devices are generating lots of logs about the device status. I am looking into this log data to find new insights about the device behavior and developing machine learning models to analyze the health of these devices. 

Since starting at Vistar, how has your view on out-of-home changed? 

Out-of-home is a really interesting, dynamic field within the larger ad-tech ecosystem that requires specialized, adaptable technology to solve unique problems.

What is one thing you wish you would have known prior to joining Vistar?

Nothing. I am happy with the way things worked out.

Thanks, Vish!

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Topics: Employee Spotlight