Monday, October 14, 2013

INSITE Big Data Symposium - Wonderful Learning Experience !!

I can't believe that I am already 8 weeks into the semester. I must say time files very fast. Business Intelligence course has been a really good learning experience with engaging lectures by Dr. Sudha Ram. The mention of Big Data symposium was made on the first day of class itself. I was looking forward to it since then and the day (October 10th 2013) had finally arrived. It was a nice and bright Thursday morning. I reached the UofA student Union - south ballroom fifteen minutes before 8 AM. Before entering,  I was handed over my name badge and the agenda for the day. It was a really long agenda with several talented and erudite speakers from big companies such as IBM, SAP, Macy's etc. I was eagerly looking forward to their sessions.

The sessions started with Opening remarks by our Professor Dr. Sudha Ram where the speakers were introduced and the major goal of the symposium was addressed. The first session was by Brain Gentile where he spoke about the rise of Big Data, the myths regarding Big Data and Big Data Transformation. Certain concepts introduced such as 4th V or veracity with respect to data were extremely interesting and intriguing. The wide range of applications which JasperSoft offers was also another nice learning. The second session was also yet another interesting session by Brenda Dietrich from IBM where the term analytics was expressed seamlessly. After a short break, session on how Big Data is used to make better business decisions was taken. The speakers were Darren Stoll and Kerem Tomak from Macy's. Several novel concepts such as Big Data Ecosystem layers were discussed in detail and how they can be used to make better business decisions. The concept where Analytics is the pillar of business was emphasized by giving real-time examples. Finally, Tim Hood from SAP presented on the SAP HANA tool and its uses before the lunch break. The entire morning was a fruitful one where I learnt a lot of novel and intriguing concepts. I was looking forward for more insightful presentations.

The afternoon sessions were equally interesting and useful. Extremely important applications of Big Data such as how Big Data is used to solve security concerns were discussed by David Cowart. These concepts and ideas were new to me and it was a very good learning experience. After security, applications of Big Data in Healthcare industry were discussed. Healthcare has always been my passion and it was amazing to learn how Big Data was used to predict patterns and detect outliers from clusters. After security and Healthcare, applications of Big Data in dynamic pricing of tickets were discussed by Zaheer Benjamin. Finally the sessions ended with a extremely flawless presentation by our professor Dr. Sudha Ram who discussed Big Data research being performed in the university using smart card. The Visuals created were extremely appalling and inspiring. The day ended with a very good closing note and it was truly a extremely informative session.

Lessons learnt from the symposium

  • Big Data is not structured or unstructured. Big Data can have more than one type of data which consists of structured, semi-structured and un-structured data. This can be referred to Multi-structured data
  • Big Data is more than data from Social Media. The classic factors of production entitled land, labor and capital. But today's world, Time and Speed constitutes a major portion
  • Big Data is undergoing a series of transformations where the focus is moving towards predictive analysis, 100% of the users being data users, data being controlled by systems where concerns regarding privacy may arise and cost will be extremely low
  • The fact of external data being more prevalent in today's world the concept of internal data does not cease to exist. It has its own importance
  • Data to be used to take business decisions should be real-time or the time taken to execute the data should be minimized
  • The major reason for the emergence of Big Data is lower costs with increased efficiency
  • Data is not useful unless there is a clear goal on how the data should be utilized. The concept of using Big Data against a framework where the customer focus is achieved is encouraged
  • Big Data serves as a Glue different parts of the organization which enables to perform better execution
The symposium was indeed a great learning experience. I would like to thank my professor Dr. Sudha Ram for organizing this symposium and imparting great knowledge of  today's view of Big Data.