New independent research shows how big data analytics can transform public services

Tuesday 3rd July saw the launch of new independent research by one of the UK’s leading think tanks, Policy Exchange, on the potential impact and benefits of big data analytics for the public sector.

The research, which was supported by EMC and entitled The big data opportunity: making government faster, smarter and more personal, found that the government could save up to £33 billion per year by applying big data analytics to challenges as diverse as closing the tax gap and reducing benefit fraud. The report was covered extensively in the media including by the Press Association, BBC, Guardian, ComputerWeekly, PublicTechnology, and IT Pro amongst others.

To mark the launch of the research, Policy Exchange organised a panel discussion and Q&A for around 100 senior policy makers from across government, members of the media, and interested third parties at their HQ in Westminster.

Speaking alongside the Cabinet Office Minister Rt Hon Francis Maude MP, EMC’s Vice President for UK and Ireland James Petter called for “a step change” in the way data is used to drive economic growth and innovation in both the public and private sectors and unveiled two new EMC commitments to accelerate this agenda. Firstly, EMC is making its Greenplum Analytics Workbench available to the government to assist its innovation in big data. Secondly, EMC is working with Cranfield University to encourage the next generation of business leaders to think in a more data-driven mindset.

Click here to download a copy of The big data opportunity: making government faster, smarter and more personal from Policy Exchange’s website.


Our take on the Clinical Practice Research Database

We secured EMC’s Bill McCluggage’s views in response to the Government’s announcement that, from September, anonymous record-sharing goes live to drug company and researchers through the Clinical Practice Research Database:

“We welcome the Government’s drive to encourage access to cradle-to-grave health records of around 52 million people in England through the Clinical Practice Research Datalink. This is a hugely important step towards a preventative healthcare model, keeping people out of hospital instead of just treating them when they’re there. This has the potential to deliver billions in savings for the Department of Health, which currently spends 75% of its patient care budget on chronic care.

“This announcement reinforces the opportunity for big data analytics in the public sector, an area Policy Exchange found could save up to £30 billion in a year. We need to urgently engage in the privacy debate and draw it to a meaningful and satisfactory conclusion as the benefits could provide the vital insight we need to transform healthcare in the UK.

“However, it is one thing to release such an in-depth data set, and another to stimulate effective use. In Scotland, we’ve starting to see the positive impact a stratified healthcare approach pathways can have – with anonymised patient data informing a quicker diagnosis, better treatment and more effective cure – and this is just the tip of the iceberg for big data analytics for healthcare. Long term chronic disease indicators could be cross-correlated with genetic information and used to deliver treatments to at-risk patients pre-emptively: it could make the difference between extended life and long-drawn out medical treatment. Analysts and companies need to step up to the mark to actively make use of the reservoir of data, using this insight to enhance our ability to cross-correlate with a wider range of disparate data sets, transforming the UK healthcare system.”

Let us know your thoughts on the topic below.

Five-year project to support growth in patient information at St. Helens & Knowsley

Earlier this year we announced that St. Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust installed two EMC Symmetrix® VMAX systems as part of a new five-year plan to overhaul its storage infrastructure. The Trust’s award-winning Informatics Service, which supports 14,000 users, selected EMC to help it more effectively manage the Trust’s increasing data storage requirements and provide medical professionals with quick and secure access to patient information, anywhere and at any time.

This is a great example of recent developments in the NHS impacting on Trusts’ abilities to manage data. St Helen and Knowsley in particular found that, with its two hospitals already paper-free, its digital storage requirements had dramatically increased from 10TB to 40TB in just three years.

In December 2010, the Trust chose EMC Symmetrix VMAX to provide a new cloud-based storage infrastructure, to provide its medical professionals with rapid and secure access to patient data, including x-rays, medical records and clinical scans. The time it takes to back-up information has been reduced by up to 70%, making the process less resource intensive and more secure from a Disaster Recovery perspective. VMAX will also allow the Trust to effectively manage its anticipated data demands over the years ahead – despite the Trust’s predictions of 20% data growth in the next year.

Phil Corrin, Deputy CIO at St. Helens & Knowsley, said “Patient care is at the centre of every technology decision we take and we need to ensure that medical staff have access to the information they need, whenever they need it. As the Trust becomes increasingly digitised, our storage requirements are only going to increase, but we know that EMC VMAX will help us to rise to the challenge.”

Click here to see the full story.


Global Hackathon: Can you predict who will love a song?

This is precisely the question over 45,000 data scientists were invited to answer at a recent Music Data Science 24 hour global Hackathon event with first time access to EMI Music’s million interview dataset. The dataset comprised of a selection of results from a million interviews of music fans around the world, offering insight to their interests, attitudes, behaviours, familiarity, and appreciation of music.

This was a collaborative project with Data Science London, EMI Music, EMC, Lightspeed Research and Kaggle, to challenge data scientists to predict the rating someone would give a song based on their demographic, the artist and track ratings, their answers to questions about musical preferences and the words they use to describe EMI artists.

Over 1,300 entries were submitted from 138 different teams – a mix of those attending in person and from across the globe. The winning algorithm came from Shanda Innovations, a tech incubator based in Shanghai and Beijing. Other mined insights included the fact that women tended to be generally more positive than men, using words like “current”, “edgy” and “cool” to describe songs, as opposed to “cheap”, “unoriginal” and “superficial”. Retired people tended rate songs higher, while students and unemployed people often gave lower ratings. You can view some of the visualisations from the event here:

The data science community tweeted throughout the event, with many in ‘heads down & focus’ mode!

Tweet: #musicdata #DSGhack Eerily quiet as coders are in ‘head down & focus’ mode @hubwestminster #committed

Tweet: Off to get the essentials as supplies are running low @hubwestminster. They’re a hungry bunch! #musicdata ##DSGhack

Tweet: #musicdata conclusions: the importance of individual models for each artist. No one size fits all solution in this game!

Tweet: #musicdata quotes: “Some users are more talkative – use the ratio of each word / how many total words used”

EMC provided IT Infrastructure and analytical tools to the contestants, as well as operational support for the competition through its Greenplum division.

From an EMI perspective this hackathon may well prove the importance of individual artist insight models. “One size fits all is no longer a valid model. The results and the data scientists comments in Kaggle’s forum also show that understanding music attitudes, behaviours and listeners words of music appreciation are more important than having insight on traditional demographics data,” said David Boyle SVP EMI.

“Community, learning and collaboration are at the heart of innovation. To succeed in the new world of Big Data, companies need to invest in innovation and experiment with data-sets to mine their real, untapped value,” said Chris Roche, Regional Director for EMC Greenplum. “I see this series of crowd sourcing events as one of Greenplum’s investments in community, learning, collaboration and innovation. We are pleased to support the Data Science London community and EMI both with our technology and expertise.”

Big Data Data Science Summit London

Back in February this year EMC-Greenplum held its first edition of the Data Science Series 2012 and what an event it was! Taking place at the Hospital Club in Central London, over 200 attendees from all over the world spent the day submerged in the fascinating world of big data analytics.

The event saw an impressive line-up of the world’s leading speakers on big data such as Marcus du Sautoy, OBE  – Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford; Professor Nigel Shadbolt of the University of Southampton and Pat Gelsinger, then President and Chief Operating Officer at EMC Information Infrastructure Products to name but a few.  They all took to the stage to share their inspiring vision and practical insights on how big data is changing the world.

Each of the speakers addressed big data from their own particular field of expertise. Professor Marcus du Sautoy started by entertaining the audience with the puzzling world of maths and discovering patterns in apparent chaos. Mark Sear, Chief Data Scientist at EMC-Greenplum shed some light on how EMC-Greenplum, together with partners such as BlackSwan and SearchScience, make their client’s data work for them.

Have a watch of Wall Street Journal Europe’s Tech correspondent Ben Rooney interviewing Pat Gelsinger, on why even though Big Data is a bit of an industry buzzword, it really will have a transformative effect on corporations here

And it’ll get bigger…

Big Data Series 2012 in London was the kick-off for a series of events that will take place soon in the world’s business capitals, such as Moscow and Dubai. It’s the start of a community where information about the future of big data analytics will be shared. Where CFOs and CMOs as well as CIOs and data scientists can find inspiration to start working with the resource that is most valuable for their business: big data.

Project Lightning

Not to be overshadowed by the turnout at the event, EMC took the opportunity to unveil EMC VFCache. Formerly known as “Project Lightning”, VFCache is a new hardware and software solution leveraging PCIe Flash technology and intelligent caching.

Together with EMC Flash-enabled storage systems,  it allows you to dramatically improve application performance by leveraging intelligent software and PCIe Flash technology. Testing resulted in up-to 3X increased throughput while reducing latency by 60%.

We think this is a real game changer to dramatically improve application performance but don’t just take our word for it. Why not take a read of one of the many writes up we’ve seen over at The Register, or V3, or ZDNet or Computerworld UK

EMC World 2012 – a record breaking event

The Olympics wasn’t the only event this year that saw records broken. EMC World 2012 in May saw a record breaking 13,000 attendees descend on the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas to hear and speak to EMC spokespeople and partners. The theme, Transform IT + Business + Yourself, addressed the key challenges organisations are facing when it comes to cloud, Big Data and the changing IT workforce.

As well as enjoying the casinos and sights of Las Vegas, participants learned directly from EMC engineers, customers and partners at over 500 sessions and hands-on labs geared for novices to experts.

Continuing the record breaking theme, the first day of the event saw a “Mega Launch” – EMC’s largest-ever wave of new products and technologies – with 42 released to make it easier and faster for customers to benefit from the shift to hybrid cloud computing.

Key notes from Joe Tucci and Pat Gelsinger focused on how organisations can improve business processes, with Joe highlighting the changes in public and private clouds and the way the data is tracking and changing our day to day lives. Pat meanwhile reinforced the key technologies of cloud, big data and the foundation of trust which will impact all industries over the coming years.

75 journalists from across EMEA were furiously reporting on the announcements from the event and over 80 pieces of coverage were generated from the UK team alone.

We’re already looking forward to seeing what next year’s event has in store and we hope to see you there!