On July 30th in northern Virginia, some of the greatest minds in analytics for business, outcomes, and mission impact gathered to share their lessons learned and experiences with data analytics. Academia, government, and industry came together to provide a comprehensive approach to investigating how we can better extract knowledge from information. The event was the 2014 Analyst Forum, a joint activity between the United Stated Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) and our AnalystOne.com site (for an overview of the entire event see our recap here).
Jeff Jonas, an IBM fellow and Chief Scientist of Context Computing at IBM, kicked off the event with a keynote speech stressing the importance of aggregating as much data as possible for computing and decision making. Although historically limitations to computing capabilities have lead many enterprise leaders to be selective vis-à-vis incorporating data, Jonas maintained that more data can actually lead to easier decision-making, especially with modern technology.
Comparing the challenges facing analytics to jigsaw puzzles, Jonas observed that an inflection point exists with both, after which more data actually simplifies computing and decision-making. While the initial stages of completing a puzzle are slow-going, the final pieces are easily placed because the puzzle’s colors and images can be seen; in a similar way, identifying false bank accounts or potential terrorists becomes easier with more email accounts, more phone records, more background information, more geospatial data, etc.
In terms of big data and illegal activity, Jonas identified two means by which law enforcement can catch criminals: officials must have access to observations unbeknownst to adversaries, or officials must have the ability to perform computations on collected data that “bad guys cannot fathom” – in other words, to have incredibly sophisticated data analytics capabilities.
Jonas also speculated on the impacts of the Internet of Things – which presents both opportunities and challenges to data analysis – and discussed the importance of investigating contradictory evidence for making important decisions based on probabilities and incomplete information.
Jonas provided a strong case for aggregating as much data as possible and for the future of data analytics being a field of opportunity.
Here is some of what the Twitter-using members of the audience thought of Jeff’s discussion:
— Kirk Borne (@KirkDBorne) July 30, 2014
— KJ Masback (@geointer) July 30, 2014
— Trajectory Magazine (@TrajectoryMag) July 30, 2014
— USGIF (@USGIF) July 30, 2014
— Seth Grimes (@SethGrimes) July 31, 2014