Panning for gold in the data stream
Big Data Analytics

Panning for Gold in Big Data Streams

“Data is knowledge. Knowledge is power. Power is money.” A new project at SICS leads national mobilization in Big Data Analytics, an area which will have a large impact on Swedish competitiveness.

National mobilization in Big Data Analytics

The production of digital information in society is enormous and rapidly growing, as a result of smart phones, cloud services, the Internet of Things, and global coordination of companies via databases. Properly analyzed, these information streams can be tapped for valuable knowledge.

In the emerging field of Big Data Analytics, large amounts of data of various types are collected, stored and analyzed to uncover hidden patterns and unknown correlations. This information can improve processes in society as well as provide competitive advantages to companies. SICS is managing a research project with participants from industry, the research community, and the public sector to craft a new national research agenda in Big Data Analytics.

Big Data Analytics is a six-month research project led by SICS Swedish ICT that brings together a broad spectrum of stakeholders from academia, industry and the public sector. The project will result in a national research and innovation agenda for the future.

“We will examine industry needs, competence and possibilities in a technology domain that will have a large impact on Swedish competitiveness,” says Daniel Gillblad at SICS Swedish ICT, who leads the project.

Competence in all areas related to Big Data Analytics is included in the research group, spanning from data collection and storage, computational frameworks, and advanced data analysis, to service platforms and business development. Focus will be on analysis. 

Potential areas for creation of value

Today, we produce massive amounts of data that, to a large extent, is unstructured and transient. It comes from a variety of sources and types – as text, video, geospatial data, information captured by a sensor in a plant or a vehicle, or from social interaction via the web. When the data can be collected, stored and analyzed, it will be possible to optimize various processes in society. Some examples: With the extensive use of smart phones, motion patterns can be analyzed on an aggregated level and be used in the planning process of new roads, railroads, electricity networks and public transport. By cross-examining data from the health report system with search terms used on the Internet, Big Data Analytics can be used to predict the spread of diseases. It can transform vehicle data into information that lets customers utilize their machines in better ways. It can also help us to better understand customer behavior.

Challenges to overcome

Many times, the objective of Big Data Analytics is to make statements about collective behavior. Since many analysis applications involve aspects of privacy, protection of privacy is a main challenge. In order to create new Big Data Analytics services, there is a need for a framework where actors can exchange data from different sources without violating the privacy of others. Another challenge is to design solutions that will not reveal business critical information when disseminated.

“We need a framework that protects privacy and prevents companies from exposing proprietary and business sensitive information. Our goal is to examine a broad range of applications. Therefore, we have participants from the established, traditional industry as well as new companies whose business concept is to analyze data and provide it as a service,” says Daniel Gillblad.

Building a strong network

During the research process, a multidisciplinary network of researchers and Swedish companies from different segments will interact and attract new stakeholders in Big Data Analytics, laying the foundation for future cooperation.

Partners in the project are the participants of the Big Data Analytics Network, consisting of a large number of companies, public institutions, and universities.

“When we have captured the needs and the agenda is in place, the ambition is to start new research projects together,” says Daniel Gillblad.