2020: A year of change and opportunity
Smarter Data Smarter World 2020 (SDSW20) was our first time taking the annual conference online (and my first conference). As always there will be limitations of not being able to interact in person and network face-to-face, however, one of the added benefits of bringing you our conference online was increased accessibility for more of you to attend and get involved. It was great to see so many familiar faces join us, and many new faces too.
Our Utilities day incorporated a mix of customer presentations, demonstrations of our own technology and we even had a keynote from Paul Barratt at Team INEOS. We were keen to showcase a range of speakers and draw on the latest insights from those who know best when it comes to data and technology.
The day started with our very own Jessica Hampton highlighting that change has also introduced new areas of opportunity. This year, BAU has found a whole new meaning and many of us are now accustomed to the reality of remote working. A year ago, we couldn’t have imagined being where we are now, however, we’ve had no choice but to change the way that we do things.
To the cycling fanatics who were in the room, what a treat, and to those of you who were unable to join us on the day, you really did miss out on a fantastic keynote from Paul Barratt at Team INEOS who honed in on the important role that data plays in elite sports. Paul drew on lessons learnt in the sporting world and how the digital twin supports the option of having a system to explore and gain insights from. And of course, during our Q&A the cycling enthusiasts out there couldn’t help themselves but throw in a question or two about Chris Froome.
We heard some fantastic insights from Clive Surman-Wells and Angela MacOscar at Northumbrian Water Group (NWG) regarding 'open innovation' where they emphasised the importance of data sharing and trust to enable collaboration on big challenges. Earlier in the week, we had heard about the National Underground Asset Register (NUAR), and it was a delight to hear our speakers draw on how their own NWG Innovation Festival led to the development of NUAR. Furthermore, like ourselves, identifying the opportunity in being able to bring people together online, even if that means face-to-face networking and follow up drinks had to go a miss.
Liam Kelly, Head of Data and Information Centre of Excellence (DICE) at Northern Gas Networks (NGN) delivered a thought-provoking presentation where he began by setting the scene and making us listeners think outside of the box when it comes to data. Liam too stressed the importance of the quality of data as fundamental to key areas of the business and explained how NGN are using digital technology to change the way they operate. Also coming back to the point that data management best practice across NGN must be the key underpinning element.
In amongst these insightful guest and customer presentations we heard from Seb Lessware, our CTO at 1Spatial who demoed and discussed 1Spatial technology, with Location Master Data Management (LMDM) using automated rules at the core and our approach to the Esri Utility Network Model amongst other offerings. Expanding on Seb’s presentation, Tom talked about how you can make best use of your own data, and the role which it plays, highlighting that data governance is a process and not a one-off consideration.