What do I see in the future of applied business intelligence? Well, I think business intelligence is growing exponentially as a business. The software business, the technology business itself and then also the all the numbers of people that are starting to get educated in the use of the tools and actually the management of the data and the reduction of cost has swell to a much larger community of people around the world using -- predicted by AMR research today at lunch here at The Partners Conference in Las Vegas by an analyst who said it's about $57 to $58 billion business this year. That’s a huge number.
It is a huge number, and the number I saw just two or three years ago was $19-20 billion. Now if you consider that let's talk about four or five ways that this is going to change over the next four or five years aside from the infrastructure and data management issue, the first thing that's going on very, very clearly is BI is becoming pervasive.
Companies are now no longer just doing finance and marketing and sales. They are doing finance, data warehousing and business intelligence against customers service, order satisfaction, and loyalty. This is what we to call the annuity business that's there and will be there if you treat your customers well. The service business, the delivery business, education, online, the tracking systems that are in many companies now, not only at FedEx and those kinds of companies, but even the railroads are doing tracking now of the product and car service.
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And you think about this, and you think about well that leads you from pervasive BI to not only collect more data not only from the internet but now from sensor based technology which are very, very small chips not the size of your little pinky finger nail, but maybe 1/20th or 1/30th the size of a penny. This kind of technology is going to get very, very cheap, and it's going to be a two-way technology which is very important. It's not only reading a radio frequency ID or RFID, but it senses.
It then gets some feedback from a business intelligence system. Then it can do something, and it helps you through a process, a totally new process that people haven't done. That kind of intelligence in the hands of people who move people, products, service, support, or petrol, all the different things that people have to manage that are very expensive changes the whole game of resource management, which is the core if you think about it of the best BI systems.
The third thing is the use of all the textual data that's out there, that's not being analyzed. Very few people are searching through textual data except for legal purposes, legislative purposes, voting in congress and things like that. Those kind of systems have been around for a number of years but now combining that with statistical data, with customer behavioral data, with contracts and documents and supplying massive amount of applications that will change very, very quickly in the BI world.
And then if you start to think about the networking capabilities and the use of devices, those kind of technologies not only here but they are being used. But they are being used in the initial stages for downloading off of the internet, doing business email and things like that and getting instant messaging and so forth, but there are BI applications that they are going to run on those things. I cannot imagine that anybody has a 3G phone will ever print a boarding pass for an airline in the U.S. five years from now.
You'll have that funny looking code on the screen, and it will flash through and by the way because that code’s there, and they have some other code, not just a password, and it's linked to that individual telephone they’ll also print the tags that go on the baggage. There won't be somebody that you have to interface with.
You just take the bag and throw it down on the belt and so forth and you put the baggage tags on now. The cost savings here on one side for an airline is good. The second is the loading factor that the airline can figure out for petrol purposes is important. We see railroads now not only tracking cars with these sensor devices and pervasive BI but rewarding the crews that drive these railroad trains like at Norfolk Southern and Burlington Northern.
They are rewarding the crews for using less diesel. And in fact, one of our customers, one of our many customers who have won awards this year was Burlington Northern who won an award for using business intelligence to estimate and understand fuel use and save about 1.5%. That sounds like a small number, 1.5% of the fuel for the rest of this year that they use in their engines. Now they buy 1.7 billion gallons of diesel fuel times $5 a gallon. This is some very seriously big money. You take 1% of that, it's about $70 million a year, just by using BI.