Key takeaways: Oslo Big Data Day 2017

23rd May Oslo Big Data Day 2017 took place. As the name indicates, the conference had focus on the opportunities and challenges of big data for improving businesses.

Selamawit Molla Fossum (IFI-UiO) attended the conference. Here are some key takeaways from the Oslo Big Data Day 2017 conference. 

Turning data into action

Big data implies the presence of large amount of data and the changes in how data is captured and analyzed. Big data comes from different transactions in an organization, from business partners, customers, social media and can be bought from third parties. These data can be found in the form of text, audio, and picture. However, data is not information. Today, 85%  of data in industries is “dark data”; meaning organizations collect data they are not using. Turning data to action requires 4 data synthesis processes, as shown below:

Through these processes, we are moving from automating the world towards understanding the world through the collected data. 

Data is predicted to be the next currency.

New capacities, technologies and data markets

Speakers from various companies stressed  the way big data is changing the world, and the consequent need of capacity both in business and analytics. Hence, new courses in business analytics are being developed to cope with the changing business climate that is driven by big data and associated technologies. 

The importance of analytics in big data is in turn requiring high competence in mathematics  and statistics. The emerging role of data scientists will be pertinent in managing the data and apply them to increase business values in organizations. 

In addition to the shift of capacity from business to analytics (Statistics and Mathematics), the conference deliberated in depth existing technological solutions that support the analysis and visualization of massive amount of digital data. This includes IMB Watson, Microsoft Cortana Intelligence Platform, Microsoft Azure and Block chain. These technologies have been developed through artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. They are, however, at different stages in their user base. 

A technology needs 10 years in average to reach 50 million users. While analog telephone reached these number of users in 75 years, Facebook needed only 1 year. The game app, Pokemon got the same number of users in 10 days. The interaction of these large numbers of users with the technology leaves traces; making data the next valuable organizational asset.  Data is predicted to be the next currency. As a result, different data market places are emerging. 

In the conference, block chain technology was hailed as disruptive and innovative solution for the current centralized and non-transparent database systems. In block chain, people own a copy of the data base. For example, taxpayers can see where their money goes. Right now it is immature and its use is limited in the banking and finance sector.


On the other hand, the ubiquity of internet-based technologies have been a security threat for both individuals and organizations. The National Security Authority provided summary of  causes that put organizations vulnerable to security threat and things we should remember to increase IT security levels. Some of the causes  are:

  • Increase in cyber attack
  • Fragmented ICT solutions
  • Lack of ICT related risk assessment routine in organizations

Things to remember:

  • There are exists threat and risk in the area of big data 
  • There are measures to reduce risk 
  • Organizations need to have competency, willingness and accomplishing ability to protect themselves from cyber attacks.


About the author: Selamawit Molla Fossum is postdoc in the iResponse-project working at the Department of Informatics at University of Oslo.