Data Summit 2016 kicked off at the New York Hilton Midtown earlier this month with keynote presentations by Ben Wellington, the creator of I Quant NY, and Nick Chandra, vice president of Cloud Customer Success at Oracle. The major impact that data collection and analysis can have today on the lives of citizens as well as businesses were explored in the keynotes.
In his presentation, Wellington shared his observations about life in New York City and the interactions he has had with city agencies to affect policy changes. I Quant NY is a data science and policy blog that focuses on insights drawn from New York City's public data, and Wellington uses this platform to share his analysis of open data to make city government more responsive and to help drive interactions that affect policy. Wellington explored how he's used his blog and some simple data science techniques to make changes in New York City. He discussed best practices for data science in the policy space, shared how storytelling is an important aspect of data science, and highlighted the various data-driven interactions he's had with city agencies. Anyone can be a data story teller, said Wellington, who believes that data science need not use complicated math and is more about curiosity and the questions we ask than the complexity of the equations we use.
Wellington pointed to an array of scenarios that he has observed, questioned, and studied, including Metro Card pricing that seemed to always leave an unusable balance and then ultimately reverted to the city’s coffers when the card expired, streets whose fire hydrants earned more than the minimum wage annually in parking tickets, and the irony of cab drivers who were universally switching shifts at a specific time during rush hour as part of an attempt to balance the earnings of 12-hour-shift drivers, as well as more significant concerns related to public health and safety such as the fact that single-vendor fast food restaurants tend to be more sanitary than sites that combine vendors.
“As more data becomes public, there is more opportunity to help our government – and our companies,” said Wellington, who noted - as a tangible example of change that can be manifested through data insights - that when purchasing a Metro card in New York City now, commuters have a new option for a $27.25 card that will give them exactly 11 rides with nothing left over.
In business, as well, data is also changing expectations, according to Oracle's Chandra, who is part of a newly formed division at Oracle dedicated to providing specialists for Oracle Cloud customers. Chandra observed that the converging forces of social media, big data, mobility, and cloud computing are putting pressure on organizations. Increasingly, data is being recognized and appreciated as an asset, and even a kind of capital, he said, citing Airbnb’s rental business, Uber’s surge pricing, and Alibaba’s online marketplace.
With these dramatic changes, the cloud makes sense as a way to manage and leverage all this data, he said. Despite current data security concerns, he shared a prediction that by 2025, enterprise clouds will be the most secure IT environments, and more than 90% of enterprise data will be stored in the cloud. Many vulnerabilities in data environments are preventable but people don’t have time to deal with patches and updates, a situation that can be addressed by cloud services, he noted.
In the cloud environment, Oracle, he said, is presenting a choice to customers of deployment in the public cloud or through use of the Oracle Cloud At Customer, provided by a cloud computing machine sitting behind the customer’s firewall. This deployment choice, he said, “is how we see the evolution of data management.”
Data Summit is an annual 2-day conference, preceded by a day of workshops. Data Summit offers a comprehensive educational experience designed to guide you through all of the key issues in data management and analysis today. The event brings together IT managers, data architects, application developers, data analysts, project managers, and business managers for an intense immersion into the key technologies and strategies for becoming a data-informed business.
Many presentations from Data Summit 2016 have been made available for review at www.dbta.com/DataSummit/2016/Presentations.aspx.