In late June, 375 Europeans + 1 attended the Big Data Value Association (BVDA) Summit in Madrid. The BVDA is the private part of the Big Data Public Private Partnership. The Public part is the European Commission. The delivery mechanism is Horizon 2020 and €500m funding . The PPP commenced in 2015 and runs to 2020.
Whilst the conference title included the word ‘BIG’, the content did not discriminate. The programme was designed to focus on concrete outcomes. A key instrument of the PPP is the concept of a ‘lighthouse’ project. The summit had arranged tracks that focused on identifying such projects; large scale and within candidate areas like manufacturing, personalised medicine and energy.
What proved most valuable was meeting the European corporate representatives who ran the vertical market streams. Telcom Italia, Orange and Nokia shared a platform to discuss their sector. Philips drove a discussion around health and well being. Jesus Ruiz, Director of Open Innovation in Santander Bank Corporate Technology, led the Finance industry track. He tried to get people to think about ‘innovation’ in the layer above traditional banking services. I suspect he meant in the space where companies like Transferwise (cheaper foreign currency conversion) play. These services improve the speed and reduce the cost of transactions. However the innovating company never ‘owns’ an individual or corporate bank account. As a consequence they’re not subject to tight financial regulation. It’s probably obvious to most but I was unaware of the distinction.
I had an opportunity to talk to many people from the influential Fraunhofer Institute! It’s an ‘applied research’ organisation and a significant contributor to Deutschland’s manufacturing success. Last year it had a revenue stream of €2b. It was seriously engaged at the event and is active at finding leading edge ‘lighthouse projects’. We’re in the transport #TIMON consortia with it – Happy Days 🙂
Networking is the big bonus at events like these and with representatives from 28 countries and delegates from Palestine and Israel – there were many people to meet. The UK was poorly represented and ScraperWiki was the only UK technology company showing it’s wares. It was a shame given the UK’s torching carrying when it comes to data. Maurizio Pilu, @Maurizio_Pilu Executive Director, Collaborative R&D at Digital Catapult gave a keynote. The ODI is mentioned in the PPP Factsheet which is good.
There was a strong sense that the PPP initiative is looking to the long term, and that some of the harder problems have not yet been addressed to extract ‘value’. There was also an acknowledgement of the importance of standards and a track was run by Phil Archer, Data Activity Lead the W3C .
Stuart Campbell, Director, CEO at Information Catalyst and a professional pan-European team managed the proceedings and it all worked beautifully. We’re in FP7 and Horizon 2020 consortia so we decided to sponsor and actively support #BDVASummit. I’m glad we did!
The next big event is thePDFTtables.com and DataBaker. The event will be opened by Jean-Claude Juncker President of the EU, and Günther Oettinger , European Commissioner for Digital Economy and society.
It’s seems a shame that the mainstream media in the UK focuses so heavily on subjects like #Grexit and #Brexit. Maybe they could devote some of their column inches to the companies and academics that are making a very significant commitment to finding products and services that make the EU more competitive and also a better place to work and to live.