Big Data Belfast

13th June 2016

It’s been a busy time for everyone at Analytics Engines recently. Last week we held our annual Big Data Conference for the 4th year running. We filled the iconic Titanic Building in Belfast with Big Data enthusiasts from around the UK and put on a fantastic show with a great line-up of speakers.

Andrew GrillThe day was kicked off with our keynote talk by Andrew Grill from IBM who set the scene for a hugely interesting group of speakers who highlighted the importance of Big Data in real terms for a diverse range of businesses from media to utilities and from sports to healthcare.

Following Andrew’s inspiring keynote, we had Analytics Engines CTO Ben Greene talking about taking Big Data from Exploration to Exploitation. We then had Danny McConnell from Deloitte Digital talking about building an Insight Driven Organisation.  In the afternoon, we had Pedro Cosa from Channel 4 talking about catalysing digital transformation in broadcasting followed by Jim Anning from British Gas who focused on IOT and the connected home, from sensor data to customer value. Just before our breakout sessions, Denis Canty from Tyco continued the IOT theme with a focus on data science.

We finished the day with two great talks from very different worlds. Sean O’Connor from STATSports gave some excellent insight on how data is being used in sports teams including some fascinating info on work that they have done with the NBA. Finally, Tim Davison from Almac gave a great talk on how they are using Big Data to usher in the age of personalised medicine. A talk that included some amazing statistics on how we at Analytics Engines have managed to accelerate their pipelines and turn month long project into studies that run in a day or two.

In addition to the great speaker line-up, we also had some great panel sessions. This started out in the morning with a technical panel featuring speakers from Royal Mail, Allstate, Capgemini and HP Enterprise.

In the afternoon breakout session, we broke up into two streams – Healthcare and Retail.

Patient PanelI must confess a personal interest in the healthcare session (as I chaired it) and we had a great panel of speakers talking about the present and the future of data and analytics in healthcare.  This fascinating panel had speakers from HSC/BSO, The Belfast Trust, Brainwave Bank and Almac. So essentially, we had a doctor who is generating and using data, the organisation that houses this data and two companies that are going to be revolutionising the data we use in routine healthcare. I could write a blog post on this session alone and I must confess to being rather selfish with asking questions myself as it was such a great group of thought leaders to have together.

Marian TimoAcross the hall at the same time, we had a great session on analytics in retail chaired by Aislinn Rice, AE Director. Much as I have a vested interest in the healthcare sector, I was actually disappointed to miss this one. In addition to Timo Kunz who used to work for retail giant Sainsburys and now works for Netaporter, we also had Marion Rybnikar from Chain Reaction Cycle, the largest online bike shop in the world, based here in Northern Ireland. The feedback from this session was excellent.

MeDemoI ran a few Demos myself on the use of Analytics Engines XDP to address some real world analytics challenges. Firstly focusing on healthcare “Your Data on Drugs” and secondly “What are the Odds?” looking at social media and betting odds. The former of these demos will be the subject of a forthcoming blog post whereas we covered the later here a while back. If you’ve any interest in hearing a bit more about these analytics, demos don’t hesitate to give us a shout.

Conference Team

As one of the more recent additions to the Analytics Engines team, I was blown away by how the team pulled together to put on this event and by the quality of the event on the whole. Now that the dust has settled and the feedback forms have been reviewed, it seems that everyone enjoyed the conference as much as we did. If you were there, thank you very much for attending. If not, hopefully this will have given you a taste of what you missed and we will see you at next years event.


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