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Tuesday, 24 July 2018 10:28

Dimension Data, WSU collaborate on research, data analysis

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Dimension Data, WSU collaborate on research, data analysis Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Global ICT solutions and services provider Dimension Data has partnered with Western Sydney University to create a new data services platform comprising an ecosystem for data collection and secure computation, and expanding the capabilities of research and data analysis.

Debra Bordignon, chief technology officer, Dimension Data Australia, said in the partnership with Western Sydney University, it has created an ecosystem approach that enables mass data collection, aggregation and analysis from a wide variety of sources including personal data, the Internet of Things, social channels as well as existing data sets and applications.

“No matter where the data originates, it can integrate with mass data observations,” Bordignon says.

According to Dimension Data, mass data observations — developed under a co-innovation agreement between it and WSU — makes it easier and more cost-effective for researchers to combine and analyse a multiverse of data sources, including public datasets, archives, social data feeds, data from IoT devices, and qualitative and quantitative data contributed by communities of data contributors.

Bordignon says the mass data observations platform has elevated data management to data value management.

“Discrete and disparate data sets can now be combined securely and ethically in new and exciting ways which will reassure data owners, and revolutionise the way organisations engage with communities and how data can be shared to conduct qualitative and quantitative research,” she says.

Professor Deborah Sweeney, deputy vice-chancellor, research and innovation, WSU, added, “We were first exposed to the power of San-Shi after touring the NTT R&D facility in Japan last year. We identified it as a complementary solution to Mass Data Observations, as the platform demands a computing environment that enables aggregation and processing of personal information while keeping the data securely protected at all times,”

Professor Sweeney says the need to ensure that the data collected is held securely by the university is paramount to the viability of Mass Data Observations.

“If we cannot guarantee that the data is secure and meets all of our regulatory and ethical requirements, then we cannot ask students and future participants to get on board, and future research opportunities would be held back.”

Both Dimension Data and WSU say trials of mass data observations to date have surpassed expectations, with more than 2500 WSU student volunteers providing over 20,000 individual responses to surveys and polls through the app.

And they say that, with users’ full agreement, researchers can bring together these responses and first-hand experiences and combine them with other data sets such as census data, to explore correlations and deep insights.

The next stage involves early adopter trials with interested organisations and is expected to cover health and community-related use cases, with a managed service offering expected to follow.

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Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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