Saturday, June 11, 2011

Refresh Rates for Visualization of Real-Time Data

What's your expectation of refresh rate for "real time" data visualization? One could argue that the refresh rate depends on the time when such real-time information is still actionable, i.e. you can still take an action to avoid an issue or to ensure an expected result. This goes beyond traditional dashboards which are being refreshed in intervals. You will have to be notified immediately when something goes wrong or when something did not happen in due time.

That may be a reason why the demand for refresh rates ranges from zero latency to hourly refresh. I would aim for zero latency. Because, as a user, I do not want to ask myself whether this information is up to date. Nor will I want to know when it is being refreshed. In a real-time / operational environment it must be up to date.

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