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Shaping the Data Age Together: SDS 2019

Data has already fundamentally changed the way we do business – and we're still at the beginning of exploiting the full potential it is offering. At the 6th Swiss Conference on Data Science, over 440 data scientists, decision-makers, entrepreneurs and innovators met in Berne to discuss the latest developments in the field of data science and to shape the future together. D ONE is presenting partner of the Swiss Conference on Data Science and also provided insights into their daily business in the individual breakout sessions. Further, D ONE will be the first member hosting the «Ort der Vision», a tangible sign for the common vision building of the Swiss Alliance for Data-Intensive Services.

Inspire. Interact. Innovate.
At interactive sessions and roundtables, the participants explored trends, innovations and new technologies for the development of data-based services, products and business models. In the first of two keynote speeches, Aleksandra Przegalinska, Research Fellow at the Center for Collective Intelligence at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), discussed the importance of AI for existing and future user interfaces. The second keynote speaker at the event was Ken Hughes, the world's leading Consumer & Shopper Behaviouralist, who provided an impressive insight into how communication and customer relationships have changed in the data age. His conclusion: Data is worth its weight in gold, but anyone who neglects the human factor, will fail.

Together faster into the future

The human factor fittingly was also one of the main focus points of SDS 2019. The conference intentionally offered space for the exchange between the various communities; between data scientists, decision-makers and innovators. Precisely at the interfaces between industry and science, potential for synergies can be identified and exploited – so that the Swiss economy not only does arrive in the data age, but can also play an active role in shaping it.

Facilitate free form text analysis

In its different topic tracks, the Swiss Conference on Data science offered a multitude of breakout sessions, in which companies and educational institutions presented their challenges and solutions in the area of Data Science. D ONE contributed three presentations and provided valuable insights into their daily work and projects.
For example, how to harness the power of user-generated content with search and machine learning. In order to facilitate rapid prototyping, D ONE is open-sourcing their work spanning the ELK stack (index, search, visualization), spaCy (named entity recognition, syntax analysis), Vader (sentiment analysis), and others. Dr. Philipp Thomann & Dr. Jürgen Schwärzler from D ONE demonstrated the usefulness of the approach by analyzing restaurant reviews on TripAdvisor in Switzerland and articles from insideparadeplatz.ch.

Make or buy, this is the question

In order to get more efficient and robust on their way to a data-driven enterprise, a company data science infrastructure is needed. The question many data science teams are facing is: Make or buy? Dr. Lukas Seger from Raiffeisen and Dr. Philipp Thomann from D ONE presented why the Raiffeisen team decided to go for «make». One of the main reasons was that off-the-shelf products need a lot of work to be integrated and tailored to their needs - and that they love open source. Once the decision was made, the next question arose: how to make? The design comprises technologies like Docker, RStudio, Jupyter, Spark, and Flask. It is based on best practices gathered in many projects and D ONE is responsible for the design, implementation, and support of this setup.

Data-driven efficiency gains even in traditional industry

Dr. Axel Obermeier and Daniel Auvinet form SBB thematized the endeavor of SBB to digitize many aspects of maintenance projects of their vast track network. Ultimately, the vision is to use data and advanced analytics throughout the whole process – from project selection and specification, to project scheduling and review – and giving all the involved stakeholders easy access to the wealth of knowledge already accumulated, and how this can improve efficiency and save costs.

The journey towards this vision has been to iterate over small well-defined problems and leverage the results for the next steps, as well as to integrate solutions quickly into production. In particular, D ONE has developed an automated tool for generating suggestions to reduce costs on project-level, whereas on portfolio-level, we have created a way to quantifiably assign costs to interrelated cost drivers.

Innovation needs visionary doers

D ONE also had the honor to be the first member of the Swiss Alliance for Data-Intensive Services to be chosen as host of the «Ort der Vision». Christoph Heitz, President of the Alliance, presented D ONE with the plate. It is a tangible sign for the common vision building of the Alliance and will travel from member to member during the next year. The different stations will be documented on the website of the Swiss Alliance for Data-Intensive Services.

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