The Story Behind Loneliness and Happiness: Gartner BI Bake-off and Analytics Showdown 2019

At the annual Gartner Data and Analytics Summit, one of the most popular sessions is the BI Bake-off, where analytics companies show what their product can do with a common data set chosen by Gartner. Tellius was invited to participate in the first ever Analytics Showdown, and I presented alongside representatives from two other companies, so attendees can see how products compare using the same data.

I was excited for the opportunity to showcase Tellius, especially because I was doing so sitting side-by-side with Information Builders and Tibco, two well-known companies in the industry for decades. There were over 200 attendees present, and we were asked to assess the impact of technology on loneliness, happiness, and overall mental well-being. We used data from the global survey on loneliness from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Economist, as well as Gartner consumer values survey data, for this analysis.

Here’s a quick summary of our findings:

  • Top factors for Loneliness: Serious health conditions, Lack of support nearby, Low confidence, Employment status, Marital status, Experienced a major life event.
  • Top factors for Unhappiness: Lower drive for excellence, No sense of belonging, (and interestingly) Good balance in life, Healthy, and Having close family ties
  • Top factors for Happiness: Balance, Health, Relationship, Excellence, Belonging, and Family



Assessing Loneliness with Search-Driven Analytics

Is loneliness a major problem? What factors impact loneliness or happiness? Does technology help the situation or make it worse? To analyze these questions, I asked Tellius, which is built on a concept like the Google search engine. In everyday life, we rely on Google to answer just about any question that comes to mind – to ask any question about my business data, I rely on Tellius. I can directly ask questions through voice or typing into a search bar, get visualizations, and then breakdown the data to find useful information to help me answer these questions.

In Vizpads, I created a dashboard with multiple visualizations. Tellius has a rich library of charts, and best-fit visualizations are generated for each question. I started my analysis by first breaking down total population by country. According to our survey data, the United Kingdom and the United States seemed to be neck-in-neck in being the loneliest countries, while Japan had far fewer people reporting being lonely. To get a closer look into the United States, I simply added a filter at a global level, and all the charts changed.

Through the drill and filter capabilities, I was able to answer other specific questions, such as: What about age groups? Does income level have an impact? I learned that people in the age group 30-50, individuals with less than 40k, and those who undergone a major life event, such as a death in the family or health situation, seemed to be lonelier than others.

From here, I can quickly share my dashboard with anyone inside and outside the organization by adding users to view my dashboard or sending them a URL. I can set up alerts and email an updated notification directly to them on a recurring basis.

Automated Discovery of Loneliness Factors

As I was exploring the visualizations I created, something that stood out in my dashboard was that people in the United States reportedly had no specific reason to be lonely. I was curious to find out more by asking Tellius to discover more insights behind this finding. With just a simple click of a button, I was able to uncover various anomalies in seconds that would have taken hours to find through manual exploration.

Tellius Genius Insights understands my interests and my data, and using the AI-powered engine, automatically presents the top 10 Anomalies, Correlations and Trends related to my data and question I triggered. For example, Genius Insights found that individuals who tend to be lonely also had long term unemployment, were aging parents who receive minimal help from their children, had a lack of drive to call for help by support line when needed, were away from home for a long course of time, and (something that caught my attention!) had an increased use of technology.

Is Social Media affecting Loneliness? I also had questions to why and how increase of internet causes individuals to be lonely. With search, I asked for a break down by technology and loneliness, and then drilled into social media usage using the auto-generated interactive chart capabilities. It turns out that millennials, younger people who are active on social media, reported that technology is a major contributing factor for their loneliness.

I also wanted to find the top factors that drive people to be lonely. I can click on my chart and then chose Drivers to to auto-discover the top factors. Tellius automatically provides two pieces of information here. First, the top variables which impact loneliness the most are discovered by machine learning algorithms running behind the scenes – they were: individual with serious mental health, availability of support nearby, marital status, single or divorced, confidence, employment status, and experience in a life situation. I’m not saying that technology doesn’t impact loneliness, but based on the data insights found by Tellius, other factors impact loneliness more.

The second set of findings are the right side, where we see the segments of individuals who are most lonely and the characteristics of these different segments. So you can see loneliness is 3.3x more likely to occur when individuals are married, have a few people to talk to, mental health condition is poor, and etc.

Conversations Uncover Happiness

The Tellius Assistant allows me to have a conversation with our data. I can start by simply asking, “What’s the distribution of people by happiness?” and the system parses my question and returns the best-fit visualization. I can further analyze the data by asking follow-on questions and find that people are 2X more likely to be unhappy when they have problems in their relationships, no sense of belonging, and lower drive for excellence, despite also having a good balance in life, healthy lifestyle, and have close family ties. We found tons of interesting insights to help us answer all our questions during the Showdown.

Connecting Data to Tellius

You must be curious by now, how to get started, and how does data get into Tellius? First, we connect to your data sources and/or import data into Tellius. After this, you build a logical business view by combining tables, data sets, or data across multiple sources. In Tellius, it’s easy to bring your data and quickly perform many transformations with the robust ETL capabilities in Tellius.

Without transformations, it might have been difficult to analyze survey data, since it is usually a nightmare to cleanse and prepare. We performed some quick clean up through point-and-click operations, such as changing some column names and data types to be more user friendly.


One part of the presentation is dedicated to product innovation. At Tellius, we believe in constant growth and learning. We want to make data analytics accessible by everyone and anywhere. We demonstrated a mobile Tellius Assistant with Google Voice integration to ask any question and then iteratively drill into the data. Now you can have conversations directly with Tellius on the go, anywhere, everywhere.

What makes Tellius unique is that we are a modern analytics platform that combines everything you know and love from data preparation, visualizations, and dashboards, with the “new” technologies of AI, natural language, and automation, in a scalable unified platform that you simply cannot find anywhere else.

The team and I had a great time at the Gartner Data & Analytics Summit meeting with current (and soon-to-be) customers, industry analysts, and just talking with data analytics folks everywhere. If you missed us, you can schedule your own personalized demonstration here. I can’t wait for next year’s event!


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