Creating Overwatch Data’s frontend web app to monitor global media and identify opportunities and risks for businesses
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Backed by Y Combinator, Overwatch Data is a team that focuses on intelligent monitoring and analysis of the open web, social web, and dark web to help businesses get ahead of risks, opportunities, and partnerships. They’re building a platform that leverages machine learning and NLP that monitors global media to gather market intelligence, geopolitical and supply chain risk, fraud risk, brand risk, executive protection, and more.
With the core Overwatch team focused on developing the appropriate data collection infrastructure, event matching algorithms, and analysis, they needed extra horsepower to develop a beautiful, intuitive, functional app that showcased insights and data collected to potential partners. That’s when Lazer was brought in - to focus on a web experience that partners could realize the value of the platform.
When Overwatch approached us with this project, they were still in the early phases of product development and wanted to focus on presenting a functional web app to potential partners to continue gathering feedback and refining the product. With many different types of partners, ranging across fintech, biotech, consumer, and more, we needed to focus our frontend development efforts on an intuitive, seamless experience that showcased Overwatch’s true value.
Constructing Overwatch’s frontend for ease of iteration and simplicity
Originally, Overwatch’s frontend started off as a Retool application. To extend the capabilities and offer a more robust frontend experience, we leveraged TypeScript, React, and Next.js for a modern architecture. This allowed the team to easily put forward a functional UI that partners can interact with and gave us the flexibility to adjust the product according to the needs of partners.
Piecing a complete architecture together with Google Cloud
In order to create a reliable web experience, we leveraged Google Cloud extensively. Google Cloud services we used included Cloud Build Cloud Build to execute our builds on Google Cloud, Google Maps to surface map data in a granular an interactive manner, BigQuery to manage and analyze data, Datastore has a NoSQL database, and Google Analytics.
Surfacing insights, trends, and data with Google Maps, GDELT, Recharts, and more
With data and insights being such a core component of the experience, we leveraged Recharts to create charts that played nicely with React and D3 and embodied native SVG support. GDELT was also used as a tool that monitors the world's broadcast, print, and web news from nearly every corner of every country in over 100 languages. To surface data in a map view, Google Maps was integrated to offer a beautiful, interactive UI.
The goal of gathering feedback, allowing Overwatch partners to use the product and assess the value of the platform, and refining the product further was a success. In a short amount of time, we successfully extended Overwatch’s Retool-based platform to a fully-fledged web app that provided more flexibility for partners. With a strong team in the Overwatch camp, we’re excited to see them grow and succeed.