What's new in FastStats?

Added in Q4 22 - Improved mapping capabilities

Territories Wizard

  • The Territories wizard (previously used with Microsoft MapPoint) has been repurposed to work with Microsoft Bing Maps, allowing you to more easily generate map visualisations that are thematically shaded, either according to the number of people, or another selected metric. Setting up shape files is simpler, and the types of variables you can use extend beyond the typical options of Postal Sector, District and Area to include, for example, political or health region boundaries and even custom territories.

    Using the Territories wizard, you have multiple ways of creating virtual variables that are associated with map shape files and used to create the visualisations.

    See Territories Wizard: Overview

Drive Zone Wizard

Bing Driving (Isochrone API)

  • The default algorithm for generating drive time selections in the Map tool is now the Bing Driving (Isochrone API). The former Routes API algorithm remains as a Travel Type option in the Drive Time Settings panel.


Added in Q4 22 - Modelling developments

Behavioural Modelling

This release extends the functionality for visualising and identifying a diverse set of predictive features for use in a data model and includes:

  • Classification of features into positive, negative and balanced 'insight types'

  • Further chart options for the selection and display of dimensions

See Behavioural Modelling Development Update - Q4 2022


Standard Modelling

The concepts, charts and measures described for behavioural modelling are also fully supported for standard modelling.

See Standard Modelling Development Update - Q4 2022


Performance improvements

The processing of dimension results is now parallelized to improve performance. The three main stages are:

  • Caching the base and analysis selections - used in the profiling of all dimensions

  • Evaluating the Point-in-Time expression - each person’s event timepoint to aggregate their behaviour

  • Running the profiles for each dimension - in batches of 10 by default

See Parallel Running of Dimensions


Added in Q4 22 - new Expression functions

  • A new CreateTextList function has been added which allows you to create a text list from a number of strings

  • The Index (Logical) function has been extended to take text list parameters


Added in Q3 22 - Modelling Environment enhancements

Developments include:


Added in Q3 22 - improvements for drivetime calculations created through Point to Point wizard

  • Introduction of the Bing API isochrone means that systems with latitude and longitude variables marked with the GeoFormat property can benefit from significant drivetime improvements. You can now use the Point to Point wizard to process larger volumes of records and provide a user-specified level of accuracy in drivetime calculations.

    For the simplest case, you must specify the maximum drivetime (for example 0-80 minutes) and accuracy (for example to within 5 minutes) and the resulting variable will be a numeric with values of 5, 10, ..., 75, 80 - or a missing value if further away than 80 minutes.

    You can also specify the drivetime to be a walking time calculation.

    See Point to Point Wizard: Overview


Added in Q3 22 - Drive Zone wizard to use Bing Isochrone API

  • The Drive Zone wizard will use Bing Isochrone API in lieu of the former Routes API. Drivetimes return significantly more quickly and have more accurate zones, with approximately ten times as many vertices on the drivetime shape. The option to construct zones using walking time is also available.

    See Drive Zone Wizard: Overview


Added in Q3 22 - new extensions to Pattern Match aggregation capability

  • Two new extensions have been added:

    • You can specify an include or exclude list of codes from the pattern variable which are either the only ones of interest (include list) or ones that you do not want to see (exclude list).

    • In addition to first and last, you can return an intermediate, Nth element of a pattern


Added in Q3 22 - new Expression function

  • A new LogN function has been added which takes the logarithm of the number to the given base.

    You can find this with Expression: Maths Functions


Added in Q3 22 - updated Expression function

  • In Location Functions, the GeoPointInArea expression benefits from the following updates:

    • a significant increase in speed

    • its first two parameters can be variables, but all other parameters must be fixed numeric values

    See Expression: Location Functions


Added in Q2 22 - Modelling Environment enhancements

  • A new metric - Uplift PWE - provides an alternative to the pre-existing "Power" metric and can be used, along with a selection of new charts, to help you identify and select the best behavioural features to use in your data model.

    See Identifying the best Behavioural Features to use in a model

  • The chart previously called Analysis % has been renamed Analysis Rate to avoid confusion with Percent of Analysis. For each category, the analysis rate shows the proportion of people in the analysis selection and, so, is equivalent to "response rate" in a scenario where the analysis selection is the responders.


Added in Q2 22 - improved DriveTime calculations in Map tool

  • With Bing's introduction of a native Isochrone API endpoint, it is possible to calculate drivetimes on maps more accurately, and often faster, compared to the original FastStats' drivetime algorithm. The new method also provides options for calculating walking and public transport travel types.

    See Bing Maps: DriveTime Calculations


Added in Q2 22 - new Date/DateTime bandings on Cubes

  • When you add a Date or DateTime variable as a cube dimension, there are four new banding options available via the right-click context menu:

    • Day of Month which relates to both variable types

    • Hour and Minute of Day, Minute of Hour and Second of Minutefor use with a DateTime variable

  • For more information see Cube: How do I create a Cube dimension with Date or DateTime Variables?


Added in Q2 22 - ability to add Date/DateTime Expressions as a Cube dimensions

  • You can drag a date or datetime expression directly onto a cube as a dimension without the need to create a virtual variable; you can then band these dimensions using any of the right-click options available for date or datetime variables, with prompts to define start and end years for the expression, if the default current year +/- 5 years is not appropriate.

    See Cube: How do I create a Cube dimension with a Date or DateTime Expression?


Added in Q2 22 - use of Regular Expressions (Regex) with new String expression functions


Added in Q2 22 - new Date and Time expression functions

  • Two new functions have been added to work with Date and DateTime expressions and tell you if the given date/datetime is a weekday or weekend.

    • IsWeekday - returns whether the given date/datetime is a weekday.

    • IsWeekend - returns whether the given date/datetime is a weekend.


Added in Q1 22 - Segmentation Migration extensions

  • The Migration (2-points) and Migration (All points) segmentation reports have been extended to include simplified general and specific views of people's movement between segments. You also have the option to display the reports in terms of volume only, or volume and value.

    See the Migration (2 points) and Migration (All points) topics for full details.


Added in Q122 - Modelling Environment enhancements

  • Data Grid options provide the flexibility to display values associated with evaluation contexts as well as training contexts in a Data Grid

  • Improved context evaluation

    • The default approach used when evaluating behavioural features has changed to provide a stronger indication of the effectiveness of predicting behaviour during the evaluation stage of the process.

  • Improved Decision Tree integration within the Modelling Environment

    • The Results tab of the Modelling Environment captures and lists models generated using the Dimensions you choose to explore. Previously this was only possible for Decision Trees built without any manual intervention - that is, by simply clicking the Build button. You can now capture Decision Trees built and modified using the manual options, such as growing or pruning particular branches.

  • Enhanced Decision Tree performance

    • When you create Behavioural Features within the Modelling Environment, there is extensive use of cached variables and expressions, often nesting several levels deep within selections. There are updates and improvements to the long-standing mechanisms used within FastStats for creating requests and evaluating the cache. As well as particularly noticeable when using Decision Trees with Behavioural Features, these changes benefit many areas of FastStats and have been patched back to the Q4 21 release.

  • Improved annotation of Selections, Dimensions and Results

    • When creating behaviour-based models, you can document your exploration and thought processes by editing descriptions and adding notes associated with Selections, Dimensions and Results generated as part of your modelling investigations.

  • Labelling enhancements

    • The automatic bands for the “Time since...” Behavioural Feature have been adjusted. For example, the “number of months since” feature breaks down the first 12 months and then groups any longer time-frames together. Because a "Time since..." feature starts counting at 0, only months 0 to 11 are broken down individually.

    • The wording on the “Modify time frame” dialogue has been improved to clarify the interval created.


Added in Q1 22 - new Expression function

  • System Functions

    • VarCountsInfoFind - returns the index of the code or description to find for your given variable.


Added in Q1 22 - Map Wizard enhancements

  • Drive Zone Wizard

    • For all three methods of calculating zone size, you can create zones more accurately using latitude and longitude variables, instead of using a geographic variable which is accurate only to the level of the underlying geographic shape files.

    • An option for using Driving Distance to create the zones has been added.

  • Point to Point Wizard

    • When selecting to create a variable based upon straight line - as the crow flies - distance, you can specify latitude and longitude variables and have FastStats create an expression based on the centre point to calculate the distance.

    • For all options, you can specify a maximum value in terms of drive time, drive distance or straight line distance and only the records within that area are then categorised in the resulting virtual variable.


Added in Q4 21 - Modelling Environment enhancements

  • Two new Behavioural Features have been added:

    Count distinct

    Time since first

  • More flexible specification of time frame to restrict the transaction rows being analysed

  • A number of usability improvements have been made to the handling of Dimensions (Behavioural Features) in behavioural modelling, including:

    • More streamlined interface with dialog-based menus

    • Improvement to the way criteria are applied

    • More practical batch processing for handling large numbers of Dimensions

    Behavioural Modelling Development Update - Q4 2021 provides full details.


Added in Q4 21 - Aggregation Expressions

  • Running/Rolling - now also support a rolling time window allowing you to determine, for example, the highest amount spent by a customer in any 12 month period.

Added in Q4 21 - Expressions

  • Derived Cube Expressions

  • Selector Expressions

    • NthSelectedFlag - to return the description of the Nth selected flag in a flag array

    • NthIndexSelectedFlag - to return the index of the Nth selected flag in a flag array

  • Set Expressions

    • IsSubset/IsSuperset - now have an optional parameter to specify 'proper' subset/superset

  • System Expressions

    • VarCountsInfoNth (natural order for varcodes) - allows the expression to pull out information from the VarCodes for a variable

  • Postcode Expressions

    • File now uses ONS data file for improved and more up-to-date postcode list


Added in Q3 21 - new list from file functions added to File Functions in Expressions

  • Two new File Functions allow you to refer to a column in a delimited data file and create a numeric or text list data type which you can use as parameters within other Expression functions. Should the values in your list need to change, an update to the data file will apply to the Expression itself, and also to any saved analyses in which that Expression has been used.

    Expression: File Functions


Added in Q3 21 - Expressions with open-ended parameters extended to allow new list from file parameters

  • Making the list from file functions widely usable, 26 existing functions with open-ended parameters have been extended to also allow list parameters. These are:

    Geo: GeoNearest; GeoDistMin; GeoNth; GeoDistNth; GeoPointInArea

    UKPostcode: UKPostcodeNearest; UKPostcodeDistMin; UKPostcodeNth; UKPostcodeDistNth

    String: AddStr; StrContains; StrContainsl; StrBegins; StrBeginsl; StrEnds; StrEndsl; StrShredContains

    Other: VarSelect; InList; Index; MaxIndex; MinIndex; BandUp; BandDown; Nth; NthIndex

  • Existing utility functions on lists (CountList, StrList) have also been extended to take Numeric or TextList parameters.

  • A new function – TextListContains({textList}, string, string…) has been created to search a text list for the specified values and return the index of the first match found.


Added in Q3 21 - Modelling Environment enhancements


Added in Q3 21 - the ability to update Segmentation reports using a scheduled task


Added in Q2 21 - Event-driven behavioural modelling extended to allow for detailed customer journey selections

  • The ability to carry out simple, event-driven behavioural modelling has been extended and you can now use the FastStats Modelling Environment to define detailed customer journey – or ‘event-driven’ - selections that allow you to better understand the differences between your customers in terms of their previous behaviour.

    Overview of Customer Journey Selections


Added in Q2 21 - Improved thematics in Maps

  • You can now shade, colour and examine geographic distribution in a Map using any of the thematic types available in the Cube and Tree tools.

    Bing Maps: Shaded Map

  • Having gained your insight, you can use the new selectable Map Legend options to highlight and create a drag-off selection of any bands of interest.

    Bing Maps: Selectable Thematic Map Legend

  • For multiple similar layers on a Map, you can now right-click a Map Layer tab and copy before then editing the settings as required.

    Bing Maps: Copy Map Layer


Added in Q2 21 - new 'User Defined' thematic option added for Cube, Tree and Map tools

  • A new - User Defined - thematic type is now available in the Cube, Tree and Map tools.


Added in Q2 21 - Segmentation enhancements


Added in Q2 21 - Improvements to the Create from Cube wizard

  • You can now right-click and edit a Virtual Variable created using the Create from Cube wizard

  • You can now right-click and view a copy of the Cube or Tree used to generate the Virtual Variable

    Create from Cube Wizard: Overview


Added in Q2 21 - new Expression functions added

  • Seven new Expressions have been added in the Q2 release.  This is to support development within Elapsed Time Segmentation and also to add consistency and power to DateTime analysis.

    • Age functions - AgeHours, AgeMinutes, AgeSeconds

    • Date functions - DateTimeStart, DateTimeEnd, FinancialDateTimeStart, FinancialDateTimeEnd

  • The following existing functions have been extended:

    • Case/And/Or expressions - now allow up to 65k parameters

    • MakeDateTime(int) function - alterered to also accept one integer parameter


Added in Q1 21 - new relative points and offsets provide more capabilities when working with DateTime variables

  • New functionality has been added to the DateRule dialog when working with DateTime variables. It is now possible to find information in almost real-time, e.g. Find me all the people who have booked in the last 4 hours...Select people who have booked a holiday so far today.

    Using Variables In Selections: DateTime Variables


Added in Q1 21 - Decision Tree enhancements


Added in Q1 21 - Map drag-offs improved to accurately select people within the shapes drawn on the map