Latest Big Data Opinions
Statistics and data are everywhere. We are awash with numbers that hype and promote discussion and grab attention. There is really no need for mind-boggling concepts or numbers.
We know there’s a lot of data being generated, that it’s growing, growing fast, and needs to be stored somewhere. We also know that ‘somewhere’ doesn’t necessarily mean the data centre but the Cloud where data can be stored on-demand, at minimal cost and in seemingly endless quantities, or at the edge where data is now being collected.
The world has a modern-day obsession with data. With nearly 90 percent of its data created in the last two years and enterprise data doubling every two years, we’re living in an era of data overload.
The challenge is wider than just dealing with the amount of data we own – it’s also about what we do with it once we’ve got it, given that between 60-90 percent of data is cold and infrequently accessed within a few months of its creation. Nearly everyone can create endless streams of data without difficulty, but comparatively few have become as effective at data management.
Last week, Europe’s highest court, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), invalidated the EU-US Privacy Shield, a legal framework relied upon by thousands of US and EU companies to transfer personal data from the EU to the US.
The decision is perhaps no surprise, given the CJEU’s long-standing concerns about the ease with which the US government could access personal data of European citizens. Privacy Shield itself was an attempt to readdress the balance of privacy in favour of EU residents — but it has now been deemed inadequate.
Recently, the Committee on Climate Change published its annual Progress Report to Parliament providing new advice to the Government in reducing UK emissions. It assessed the government’s climate change mitigation activity and outlined measures to accelerate the transition to achieving Net Zero by 2050.
There have been ambitious policies introduced in an effort to reach the Net Zero target but have not been as forthcoming as we have hoped. In fact, in 2019 the UK had reduced its emissions by 3-4% but this rate of reduction is simply not high enough to meet our climate goals.
With around 90% of companies now ‘in the cloud’, the industry has become a driving force behind global technology infrastructure and service delivery. While this has offered major benefits to the entire European economy, the market dominance of US-based hyperscale cloud providers has raised concerns among EU leaders.
Between them, AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud account for over 53% of worldwide cloud infrastructure spend, according to Canalys. European cloud hosting providers, in contrast, lag significantly behind, even in their domestic markets. As Synergy Research Groups puts it, “Behind the top two the battle is being played out between Google, IBM, other smaller global cloud providers and some major local telcos and IT service providers.”
Reopening the economy while avoiding a second wave of Covid-19 is one of the biggest challenges of our time. Maintaining a low rate of transmission while opening up places of work and leisure is a delicate balance to strike, and localised outbreaks must be kept under control before they spread more widely. To do this requires a rapid, joined-up approach between regions, one which technology can enable.
With a raft of issues leading to the recent scrapping of the NHS’s contact tracing app, the pressure is on tech giants Apple and Google to provide a better solution. The apps currently provided are Bluetooth-based.
User data, secure server, firewall safety, online password protection, cybersecurity, ransomware, GDPR, cyberattacks, phishing, data privacy, license agreement…these are all words that have come to drive us crazy.
The theme of the online climate is security. Companies, governments, customers and people spend much time, money and effort trying to protect themselves online. But what exactly are we protecting? Our identities, our records, our personal data, social media posts, privacy or is it something more?
Throughout the crisis, organisations across the globe have been forced to operate with their hands tied behind their back. Contracts have been significantly scaled back or terminated, supply chains will have been disrupted and workforces have been trimmed. In light of this, having access to accurate data has never been more critical and for many it has acted as the differentiator between success and failure.
As lockdown measures begin to ease and some industries report the first green shoots of recovery, having access to that same accurate data will be equally critical. The public sector is no exception.
The UK social sector is vast. There are around 170,000 charities and nearly 500,000 social enterprises in the UK. These organisations support millions of individuals and countless communities – yet most of them aren’t making use of data science.
They are limited by a lack of resources, the high expected salaries of data experts, and fears about misusing data. However, some brave organisations are leading the way! Below, we highlight projects by organisations at the vanguard of social sector data use.
Imagine this, if you will. You’ve just bought a new car, it’s the latest model with all the frills. All of these extras make parking a doddle, your emissions reduced and your journeys smoother. You use your car nearly every day from that point onwards. You ignore the engine light when it comes on and don’t get that rattling noise checked out.
Now imagine that your organisation has adopted Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools but doesn’t adopt tools and procedures to care for the data. New cars and AI adoption may be miles apart, but for both to function optimally, correct procedures and routine care are essential.
Business intelligence (BI) is the cornerstone of modern business – enabling organisations to analyse information through technology and best practices to help executives, managers and other corporate end users make informed business decisions. But it’s not enough for companies to be data-led – especially in the current pandemic.
Organisations today need to be proactively data-driven and have a comprehensive view of their data – using it to drive change, eliminate inefficiencies, and quickly adapt to market or supply changes.
With 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created each day, a data analytics database is a powerful tool that goes way beyond traditional BI to give businesses greater predictive decision-making power based on real-time insights.
There has been significant coverage on the apparent link between ethnicity and the risk of contracting coronavirus, but what does the data actually reveal?
In 2005, Richard Webber and Trevor Phillips OBE started Webber Phillips, a data analytics business specialising in a software package called “Origins” (developed by OriginsInfo, of which Webber is MD). Origins applies reference tables linking people’s names and cultural backgrounds to the examination of cultural diversity among private and public sector organisations. It wasn’t long into the pandemic before Webber and Phillips realised their software could be applied to Covid-19, amid early indicators that the UK BAME community was disproportionately at-risk.
We spoke to Webber to understand the power of Origins and how the software package might help the UK Government better understand the connection between Covid-19 risk, ethnicity and occupation. In terms of what the data is telling us, Webber warns against oversimplification and says the devil is in the detail.