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by Graham Cookson
in Big Data , Hadoop , Apache
on 23 April 2015

Digital Contact's big data presentation at the University of Kent

On April 23, 2015 our data science manager, Matt Jenkins, took part in the University of Kent’s ‘Big Data Event’. Among one of three guest speakers, Matt gave a presentation to a group of academics, all of whom hold an interest in the concept of big data and its practical uses by companies, such as Digital Contact.

After a passionate and engaging opening from the event chair, Eerke Boiten, senior lecturer – school of computing, at the University of Kent, we were introduced to the other guest speakers.

Matt was the first guest speaker of the day, giving a presentation on who Digital Contact is, what we do and how we are using big data. The full presentation can be found below, but here’s a quick overview of what was discussed:

Covering several key topics surrounding big data, Matt introduced the company and the concept of the "three V’s" (a common representation for what big data is).

Moving on to some of the technology we employ at Digital Contact, Matt spoke about Hadoop and Word2Vec, giving a brief history of how Hadoop began, its benefits for companies which regularly handle big data and how Digital Contact is utilising Hadoop and Word2Vec on a daily basis.

The presentation was rounded off with a practical example of how Digital Contact has used data collected to produce insights. Recently, Digital Contact used its big data engine to help reveal insights surrounding the televised

General Election Leaders' Debates. The data gathered by Digital Contact showed the amount of social chatter surrounding the different parties and their leaders, plus the sentiment around what was being said.

But the event wasn’t just about how a big data products and services provider, like Digital Contact, is using big data – the purpose of the event was to cover big data applications from various angles; it was interesting to hear how it was being implemented by a national body and local government.

Among the other speakers included a representative from the Food Standards Agency, who spoke about their four biggest datasets and how they led to the FSA (recently) adopting an approach to big data, the FSA's application of big data to help map food hygiene ratings across the UK and the potential to monitor the outbreak/contraction of viruses and illnesses, such as the Norovirus, through social media.

The final presentation of the morning came from a representative from Medway Council, who spoke about how the way the council has had to change its operations in recent years, due to budget restrictions, and has been looking to the use of big data to help improve the way they operate and deliver results to the population, without driving up the costs involved.

For anyone who saw the presentation and would like to get a refresh, or you are simply interested in what we had to present, you can view our presentation in full below:

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