Maneuvering the Present and Future of Data at Data Summit 2023

The continued surge of data is ripe with opportunities as businesses navigate how to leverage their own data to its fullest potential; whether through cultural or technological avenues, enterprises can derive value from data in ways that are often just within reach to achieve a better tomorrow.

At Data Summit 2023’s second keynote presentation, speakers Mike Bechtel, chief futurist at Deloitte Consulting LLC, and Ankit Patel, SVP of engineering at Foursquare, explored the possibilities that await any organization seeking to transform their businesses for the better, highlighting trust and geospatial datasets as the key.

The annual Data Summit conference returned to Boston, May 10-11, 2023, with pre-conference workshops on May 9.

According to Bechtel, technology is evolving, and many are focusing on the “next big thing” that might propel their enterprise toward success. He further explained that trust, not technology, shapes the future of positive business outcomes.

The future of technology is not so clear-cut, Bechtel explained that it is “a blizzard of buzzwords meant to promote understanding, but there is none.”

The future is messy when attempting to visualize it holistically; the confluence of technologies, strategies, and topics is daunting for any organization attempting to modernize and innovate for the future.

“Simple always wins, and simple means different things for different use cases,” Bechtel said, noting that when tech, methods, and strategies are streamlined, they’re more likely to be adopted.

Although organizations are pushing for the best-of-breed technologies, Bechtel argued that this aforementioned simplicity begets comfort and confidence in adoption and impact. This ultimately will position organizations ahead of its competitors—which will work in tandem with streamlined technology.

Ambient experiences, Bechtel explained, is what will define the future. The plethora of devices is a detriment to present efficiency; too many screens and too many technologies reduce simplicity. When technologies intuitively understand its users’ intent, much like a party of servants at one’s disposal, they enact its implementer’s unspoken desires.

What does this interaction fundamentally rely on? Trust. To promote this future of technological and cultural weaving, trust in the latest tech—which begin as ideas, become toys, and finally, tools—will dictate which enterprises end up on the proverbial “top” of modern industry. Widespread and simple adoption is crucial in evolving toward a productive future.

Patel continued the conversation by focusing on geospatial datasets, a topic that has been relatively inaccessible for enterprises to implement centrally. According to Forrester, only 26% of data strategy leaders today say they are leveraging location intelligence to its fullest potential.

According to Patel, geospatial technology powers enhanced digital experiences and better business decisions.

“Geospatial data represents all the features and objects on the earth’s surface; it’s effectively our view of the world,” Patel explained.

This unique area of data enables businesses to make better decisions, whether through maps, transportation, expanding footprints, or geospatial analysis. Patel offered an example focusing on McDonalds and Starbucks closing during the pandemic; this was due to the companies crunching geospatial data to reveal where their demand was.

Despite its expansive usability, many organizations are not leveraging it. This is because transforming data takes too long, data exists in silos which prevents unification, requires highly specialized skills, and is hard to consume and share; ultimately, geospatial technology faces slow time to value.

The question then lies in how to transform geospatial intelligence from a resource-intensive process to fast-and-easy data unification, pattern detection, and operationalized AI and ML.

Patel announced that, launching from FourSquare, is a geospatial knowledge graph that transforms how businesses capture value from location intelligence. A knowledge graph, or a way of representing complex and dynamic relationships between entities with semantic meaning that unites machines and people, will be invaluable when attempting to leverage geospatial data.

“FourSquare is uniquely situated to unlock geospatial data,” explained Patel, emphasizing the enterprise’s AI/ML models and multi-sensor stop technology as the key accelerators for distributing streamlined geospatial data throughout any and all businesses that stand to gain value from it.

The impact of FourSquare’s knowledge graph-powered geospatial data is extensive, existing as improved ROI, optimized operating expenses and supply chain, as well as increased revenue and market share.

Many Data Summit 2023 presentations are available for review at