Data is the foundation of AI; robo-taxis are the future


International Data Corporation (IDC) says that only 30 percent of the world’s IT spending was on cloud in 2017. But, it will grow exponentially to 41 percent by 2021. What do industry experts think of data ruling businesses?

That data is the new oil is no longer a cliché. Big businesses are waking up to data as a valuable resource for favourable business outcomes. However, 85 percent of the world is not ready for this journey with data. But those that are have made great leaps with organising data.

YourStory spoke with leaders from different sectors about their journey with data at the Oracle office in Redwood City.

(Left-Right) Michael Morales (CEO, Quality Metrics Partners), Erik Dvergsnes (Architect, AkerBP), Michael Sherwood (Director of IT, City of Las Vegas), Pat Sullivan (Managing Director, North America Oracle Business Group Lead, Accenture)

YourStory: We are in an era of smart cities.How did you apply data-led AI and cloud in the city?

Michael Sherwood, Director of IT, City of Las Vegas:

Firstly, I like the term “connected city” instead of “smart city”. Most cities are connected today. Why is Vegas different? Having the right data at the right time is important for any city and not many are ready to work with citizens using cloud. For Las Vegas, the cloud really helps. Why? First we have moved our IT resources from maintenance to agile IT, such as analytics, and AI. This allows us to serve all our citizens and travellers in a complete digital environment. We can respond to digital queries faster and we are a city in an app that draws from several ideas to serve citizens better. If you look at it,is all data. In Las Vegas we want to win in the connected city race and take risk away by investing in knowledge-oriented businesses. I am believer in automation because it has great results. The city is investing in technologies that can support autonomous cars and IoT. Our city focuses on revenue creating outcomes and increasing citizen experience. We could do so only with data. At Vegas we use the cloud to augment the way the city functions. We drive it to compete; you don't need to spend money on maintaining legacy.

You may ask how are we collecting data? We are taking data from the citizen when he uses the city app, where they let us know about recreation facilities, improving parks and roads. We use Augmented Reality tools where our engineers know where to dig and where not.. This saves us on engineering cost. We can allow the citizen to help us track problems with infrastructure. For example, it solves parking woes by telling us what areas are free.They can also tell us about potholes and cleanliness in parks. So technology can impact the world and we want to be ready for the future. For a connected city we are investing in robo taxis, that will be app based. Some of these technologies are two years out where there will be self-configuring transit buses that will gauge its efficiency based on tourist load.

YS: How have IT services evolved with data?

Pat Sullivan (Managing Director, North America Oracle Business Group lead, Accenture):

AI, autonomous and Machine Learning are the future and there is no denying their importance. Our customers are rethinking business models with data. So there is a need for data veracity. We do a lot of research and have realised some serious implications. We surveyed our clients, and found that 97 percent were using data to make informative decisions. But, 90 percent of them, they say, could be wrong with the data that they have been approached to crunch. It's because they have not organised it yet. At Accenture we use Oracle DB’s to manage 400,000 employees. We studied how we place our people around mission critical business applications.

People have to learn new skills, especially in AI. At Accenture we are working on moving people from maintaining databases to building AI. Businesses realise how AI can crunch things faster. There is data that shows you interesting things. There was a 1.6 times performance increase from our teams because of AI. The key is to automate data faster. We use 500 million rows of data to understand how we functioned over time. At our own company we manage close to 50 billion transactions per day. The clients need to be competitive and Accenture has 20,000 database engineers. These engineers are now looking at the meaning of data and offering insights. There is a talent crunch for data understanding and bringing value. But, our clients are going to want autonomous databases and quick insights, and organisations will have to move in that direction.

YS: It's great to know that oil companies are investing in modern tech, how does it impact you?

Erik Dvergsnes, Architect, AkerBP:

I am creating databases that build 1.3 billion rows of data or 900 GB of data. You don't have to be technical anymore because the autonomous database manages everything by itself. Data is pulled and loaded into results quickly. In the old days you had to create workloads manually. The current systems scale up faster than the old days. Now why is it important? At oil companies it is about trying to bring the lowest cost per barrel and data crunching on a real time basis is the only way forward.

We are an offshore drilling rig company that run several wells on the same database but work at different metrics. It is important that we manage all the data coming in with an autonomous engine on a real time basis because we are able to now organise the data originating from different rigs.

YS: How is health care changing with real time data?

Michael Morales, CEO of Quality Metrics Partners

Healthcare has guidelines and no one wants data to be exposed. This is where the autonomous database secures everything and there is no human intervention. When we began we want to understand the objective of data that we use. We were getting data from physicians, care providers, insurance companies, and hospitals. We stitched all this together on a platform and reduced the turn time in offering people treatment. Today, doctors need data and faster availability is key to provide better care.

We have scaled nine-fold with data, and cloud technology has allowed us to help people in the community with the ability to crunch data at speed. Our goal is to serve all states in the US. Technology allows us to improve healthcare quality by bringing all parties in the ecosystem together. Hospitals have massive amounts of data and we use the cloud to ensure patients get the right care at the right time and at lower costs.