This year will be even bigger and better. Let’s bring data to life and solve some real problems!
Data seems to be on everybody’s lips these days. Two years ago, The Harvard Business Review, dubbed data scientist „the sexiest job of the 21st century.“ The top-paying job listings at Facebook and LinkedIn are for data scientists—not software engineers. It is quite a lucrative field. Is data still hot? What is data science? Why is data so important for society and businesses and what’s driving this new era of innovation? On this small post, we will cover all these topics briefly. And who knows, perhaps this information will spark some fresh ideas on how to change the world!
Open data is accessible public data. Everybody can use it to launch new ventures, analyze patterns and solve complex problems either to benefit society or for sole business purposes. Open government data is just a small piece of an open data available. In making data machine-readable, machine learning plays a vital role. It is the science of getting computers to act without being explicitly programmed. Machine learning has given us practical speech recognition, effective web search, and a vastly improved understanding of the human genome. Machine learning is so pervasive that you probably use it dozens of times a day without even knowing it (Amazon, Netflix, Asos, Facebook, Twitter to name the flashiest examples).
Final important subgenre we have to know about when it comes to data is deep learning, a subfield of machine learning. Deep learning is sometimes referred to as an intersection between machine learning and artificial intelligence. It is about designing algorithms that can make robots intelligent, such as face recognition techniques used in drones to detect and target terrorists, or pattern recognition/computer vision algorithms to automatically pilot a plane, a train, a boat or a car.
Many cities and also companies have decided to open up its databases to the public and so much cool stuff has come out of it. The concept is that all kinds of good things can come from assembling data, standardizing it and publishing it for free. It’s fueling lots of app developers who take all this data and turn it into consumer products.
There are many examples from all over the world on how data has been put to use creatively, both to benefit the society and for business purposes.
Boston’s Street Bump, for example, works in the background while you drive around your city, collecting data about the smoothness of your ride (and differentiating between a pothole and a train track). This information helps the city of Boston get details about urgent problems and informs the city’s long-term investment plans.
The SF Rec and Park App is a free app for San Francisco’s citizens and tourists. The app, developed by Appallicious, helps people find and navigate thousands of parks, playgrounds, dog runs, museums, recreation centers, picnic tables, gardens, public restrooms and other points of interest and facilities that are maintained by the city of San Francisco. App users can search, filter and get to these destinations via a GPS-enabled mobile map.
Among many success stories of Helsinki’s open data policy is a product called BlindSquare– a smartphone app that helps blind people navigate the city. BlindSquare took Helsinki region’s data on public transport and services, mashed it up with location data from Foursquare as well as mapping tools, GPS and artificial voice capabilities of new smartphones. The product now works in dozens of countries and languages and sells for about $40.
Website True&Co. is using big data to help women find better fitting bras. Statistics show that most women wear the wrong bra size, and so the website has stepped up to try to solve that problem. Customers fill out a fit questionnaire on the site, and based on the responses, an algorithm suggests a selection of bras to choose from. The company’s in-house brand is even developed and designed based on feedback from customers and data the company has collected.
Outdoor marketing company Route is using big data to define and justify its pricing model for advertising space on billboards, benches and the sides of busses. Traditionally, outdoor media pricing was priced “per impression” based on an estimate of how many eyes would see the ad in a given day. No more! Now they’re using sophisticated GPS, eye-tracking software, and analysis of traffic patterns to have a much more realistic idea of which advertisements will be seen the most — and therefore be the most effective.
These are just a few of the many success stories on how data has been used creatively.
While data is full of stories that empower the public and encourage change, not everybody is data-literate. People approach big data differently and by coming together they can solve problems or create completely new solutions. Garage48 hackathon welcomes participants from both sides- visionaries who love data and research transparency but have little knowledge on how to bring their ideas to life, and all the data aficionados with some more technical background.
WE ARE LOOKING FOR: data scrapers, data scientists, back-end developers, front-end developers, UI/UX designers, visionaries, experts, marketing gurus and passionate project managers!