The big data round-up

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From cycling to story telling, data now plays an important part of every day life. But as we find out in the news this week, it’s not the data but how it’s interpreted that’s important. We’ve scoured the corners of the internet to unearth the big data and analytics stories that that are making the front pages.

This year’s Tour de France is all about the data 

froome data

The famous cycling tour has been dominated by doping claims and arguments among press and pundits about the performance of Yellow Jersey wearer Chris Froome. French physiologist Pierre Sallet fuelled the fire with allegations that Froome’s ride in the Pyrenees generated a ‘suspiciously high’ watts per kilogram of power. In an attempt to address the accusations and dubious interpretations of the data, Froome’s Team Sky took the unprecedented step of releasing the team’s own data to journalists. While this won’t extinguish the talk of “enhanced performance”, it goes some way to show the dangers of data in silos and the need for context.

Can big data algorithms tell better stories than humans?

data tells stories

We always knew that data tells the real story… But what if the computer algorithms could tell more compelling stories than journalists, writers or analysts? Well, this is now becoming a reality. A new generation of Big Data tools are being put to use to automate story telling.

Open data. Why is it important and why are people so scared of it?

flow of data

The internet age is entering its next phase, one in which a global network of things looks set to accelerate human progress to break-neck speeds. At the heart of this technological transition is data. But not just any kind of data — open data. But the term ‘open data’ quickly causes suspicion and, in turn, resistance. And who wants all their info out there for anyone to see anyway?

Watson signs up for citizen service

Watson IBM

A city in British Columbia has launched a new ‘citizen service’ App that will allow residents to find out how to find a lost cat or why their bins haven’t been picked up. Taking the IoT to a new level, the App draws on the power of IBM’s Watson to understand natural language queries and analyse huge data sets.

The beauty of data visualisation

To finish off our big data round-up, here’s one from our vaults… this TED Talk still inspires, showing how the power (and beauty) of data can help spot patterns and answer questions. If you haven’t seen David McCandless TED Talk, you should clear 15 minutes from your day now.

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