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Bill Eldredge, big data, analytics

Bill Eldredge, Senior Manager Data Asset, Nokia

Looking at the future of big mobility data, Bill Eldredge, Senior Data Asset Manager at Nokia, presented the challenges, possibilities and the future of an emerging area in big data analytics. Unknown to many (me at least), Nokia is around 150 yrs old and began life as a boot manufacturer, which of course many years later developed into the technology company that would go on to create the mobile operating system Symbian, and indeed was a leading mobile phone manufacturer until recently.

Eldridge's focus was on location based service capabilities, in other words the ‘where' that will transform the context of all experiences, the social and location (SoLo) data. The plan is simple, if google is the what, Facbook is the who, and Nokia intendeds to bring the where to the table. With all the efforts to cluster the data of a single company, there are considerations that need to be made for users. Nokia won't be the only company bringing where to the table in big data, but with 147m map tiles being stored daily (you heard right) there is a lot of data about to build up which know where you are, where you were and where you are likely to be next Thursday afternoon at about 4pm. In a way it's regretful that the portability and consumer empowerment of Web vocabularies such as FOAF (Friend Of A Friend) haven't provided a base for companies to build on, on one hand FOAF users could be in greater control of their own data. On the other hand companies need something back to monetise, you get helpful maps and directions if they get information about where you were and where you were going. It wasn't, isn't and hasn't been made clear yet today exactly where anyone stands on security and privacy in the big data trade-off. I'm still waiting..

Getting back to Nokia and Eldridge is looking at cheaper sensors (on shoes, cars, bikes and skateboards) as a way of adding (in a measured way) to the context of human activity. This forms part of Nokia's plan to create a leading ‘where' platform, but Eldridge suggests that some technology has not evolved, such as SMS. There are other over-the-web chat service apps for every mobile OS (such as Whatsapp) which are successful and bridge the gap between IM and SMS in my view. For instance, if someone (using Whatsapp) asks where i am, I can (if i want to) press one button and send my exact location as generating by the mobile device. I am in contol of that, but how often will Nokia's "Human Motion Graph" pull data on where I am? Can I switch it off?

It was also stated in the talk that â…˜ cars that have in-dash nav are using Nokia's maps. This illustrates the kind of technical divisioning that has happened with companies like Nokia, holding data was in silos, but now when trying to bring it all together there have been (and Eldridge says there continues to be) questions and issues about clustering this data. Should they do this internally or get outside help? The fact that these questions are raised shows how much of a fringe area that organised big data – and big analytics – really is.

Nokia's ultimate goal is with interactions with the real world that can be contextualised by location, connecting people and creating context for interactions will lead to the ‘third phase of mobility' as they see it. Eldridge presented an image of Nokia's augmented reality app in his concluding example of how making spatial data accessible and relevant and aggregating from mutliple data, Nokia can have the where knowledge that they call the "Human motion graph".

Please feel free to tell us what you think by commenting below!

Blogged on behalf of guest blogger Paul Booth.

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