“Making Connections with Big Data” Workshop

The “Making Connections with Big Data” workshop took place at the University of Hull on Tuesday 15th July. There was some useful publicity in the Yorkshire Post’s business section (Don’t miss the big data boat) on the day of the workshop. The following week, on the 23 July, the Hull Daily Mail reported on the event (Smart City: Invisible information network ‘could make Hull a better place to live’).

Seventy people registered for the event and sixty participated on the day. We had been aiming for fifty and were delighted with the response and with the participation at the workshop.

In the morning there were four presentations. Nick Lambert talked about big data and the last frontier: mapping the ocean. Many of our maps still rely on lead line surveys and Nick talked about the opportunities – and the obstacles – for crowd-sourcing ocean mapping data as well as data collection using unmanned ships (the drones of the sea). Ben Wrigley presented on KC’s (the Hull region’s telecoms supplier) business analytics journey, bringing out many useful lessons in moving to an “insight-driven culture”. Jon Moss of C4DI talked about making Hull a smarter city and the opportunities for open data APIs (and illustrated with plenty of examples from his passion for cycling). John Morton closed the morning with advice drawn from a broad range of analytics projects, suggesting that we should: give more attention to analysing text data, do more with the data we already have, and align data with process management. After lunch Prof Ken Hawick presented on opportunities for network analysis and Prof Richard Vidgen gave an overview of a recently completed project into Big Data and value creation. All of the presentations can be accessed here.

We then held breakout groups organised around the theme: “What challenges does your organisation face in turning [Big] data into business value?”

The breakout groups were organised as focus groups with individual and group working leading to a set of issues encoded on post-it notes and posted to a brown paper story board. We collected a lot data from the groups, which will now be analysed and consolidated into a single list, which will be fed back to attendees for ranking in a Delphi process. The final ranked list of challenges will be posted here in due course.

The wrap-up plenary session showed that there was appetite for a follow-up event and for establishing a Hull region big data and business analytics group. The next event is planned for November and will take place at the C4DI offices.

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