Data-driven innovation for business

Author: Thomas Blyth
Posted: 6 Dec 2018 | 16:12

In February EPCC will host an event to explain why data driven innovation is important for industry. We will also showcase how companies are already using data technologies to enhance commercial performance.

There is a lot of hype around big data and big computing for business, but it is undeniable that the influence of data-driven innovation will be profound.

The expertise and support available in Scotland has created a massive opportunity for our engineering and manufacturing sectors and, with the launch of the £500m Data-Driven Innovation (DDI) strand of the Edinburgh and South-East Scotland City Region Deal, this is an exciting time for exploring how technology can benefit business.

Industry can gain huge benefits by combining data science expertise, HPC hardware, and readily-available software and data analytics tools. HPC enables data scientists to manage, process and work with extremely large and complex datasets, which in turn allows businesses to develop new products and revenue streams.   

The Bayes Centre in Edinburgh is home to a community of world-leading data science and artificial intelligence teams, including EPCC, and it is set to play a key role in delivering the DDI programme. Central to the programme is a new facility for the secure hosting and analysis of huge and varied datasets. This £70m investment in the Edinburgh International Data Facility (EIDF) will be fundamental in positioning the City Region as data capital of Europe, acting as an enabler for many data science projects for industry, academia or both, and – by bringing together regional, national and international datasets – facilitating new products, services, and research.

The EIDF's high-resiliency data and computing facilities will support work with complex, high volume, real-time datasets from across the City Region and beyond. We are already seeing demand from a wide range of sectors including fintech and other financial services, space and satellite, data analytics, and tech start-ups. The establishment of this data hub and the production of new applications will in turn lead to new companies.

EPCC collaborates with companies of all sizes to tackle real-life problems or enhance business processes, and the direct results can include gaining a competitive advantage, reducing costs, or improving operational or research and development processes. Here at EPCC we see the EIDF as a unique opportunity for companies to adopt data-driven innovation. It will offer state-of-the-art data and compute infrastructure, supported by data analytics and modelling skills from across the University of Edinburgh and the wider region.

To understand the potential impact of data-driven innovation, consider the case of a manufacturing production line, running 24 hours a day: an unexpected breakdown will be extremely costly.

A modern production line generates a huge amount of data from fault-detecting sensors. If machine learning could predict faults before they occur, the number of times the line breaks down would be dramatically reduced, leading to massive savings. This kind of application, where computers make predictions based on meaningful patterns in data sets, will increase in importance as the amount of data grows.

Find out more

EPCC event: Exploiting the data-driven revolution
Contact EPCC's Business Team to discuss how we work with industry.
Current collaborative research activities


Thomas Blyth and Mark Sawyer, EPCC

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