Oracle helps elite yachts put the wind in their sails with data-driven performance insights

John Abel, Vice President Cloud and Innovation at Oracle UK, will be among speakers at Oracle’s Future Ready Data Management Forum on Wednesday, September 25

Elite yachting crews were able to adjust their performance in realtime after a global technology giant analysed live competition data generated by on-board and weather sensors.

Oracle, the $180bn US tech firm, was able to deploy a team of data scientists and Artificial Intelligence graduates to understand how data gathered from a range of environmental sensors could help skippers fine-tune their decision-making ‘to the second’ at the SailGP event in Cowes last month.

The company used the experiment as a way of ‘telling the story’ of how data can be surfaced from any scenario and used to enhance performance of any organisation, regardless of the sector.

Oracle is inviting private, public and third sector data analysts and architects to its Scottish headquarters on Wednesday, September 25, for a special thought leadership and practical masterclass conference on how organisations can find their own ‘hidden data’ and start to apply data-driven insights in order to improve outcomes. The Future Ready Data Management Forum will equip delegates with the latest on the UK data economy, brings ‘data science to the masses’ and gives an insight into the benefits of Oracle and Microsoft Accelerate Enterprise Cloud adoption.

“We are helping our clients to realise the benefits from the ‘hidden data’ that they hold in a more cost-effective way than ever before,” said John Abel, Vice President Cloud and Innovation at Oracle UK, who will be among speakers at the event.

Abel, who is a developer turned innovator, leads a team who use technology to drive business value for customers, adds: “We organised the SailGP hackathon to gathered sensor data from the boats and weather buoys in order to analyse and predict the best path they crews could take around the course. The data we were able to surface showed how the wind was changing on a second-by-second basis, and where the best pockets of wind were for them to pursue.”

He added: “Once we were able to show these patterns to the crews, they wanted more: it just goes to show the immense power of data to be able to reveal new and actionable insights.”

Members of Oracle’s data science team who took part in the SailGP ‘hackathon’

For Oracle, the SailGP event is a ‘worked’ real life example which it intends to showcase at the free-to-attend event, backed by core principles that are applicable to any organisation – whether it be public or third sector, or business and retail. Part of the intention of the event is to convey how at a strategic level data can be better harnessed within any organisation and also – via a technical masterclass in the afternoon – how easily the Oracle Cloud solution can be applied, providing practical steps for organisations towards ‘data ingestion, consumption and management’.

Abel adds: “It doesn’t matter if you are a large private sector organisation or a local authority or GP practice, the lessons are the same: there will be untapped data in your organisation which can be utilised to deliver fresh insights and improve the way you work and service your end users. We hope the SailGP session will be a useful metaphor to demonstrate how this technical approach can be applied to any organisation.”

Oracle’s innovative approach to applying data science to novel scenarios has also yielded results for worldwide conservation efforts to protect honey bee colonies. Early data gathered by the company has provided encouraging evidence about how noise levels in hives can predict swarming events. In the justice and human resources sector, police forces and HR professionals are investigating how these lessons in nature – from noise levels to mitigating invasive species – can be applied in real-life, human settings. 

In the public sector, Oracle has worked with the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA), a special health authority and an arm’s length body of the Department of Health for England which provides central services to NHS organisations, contractors, patients, and the public, including the management of NHS Pension Funds valued at circa £32bn. By applying a broad range of Oracle’s data analytics and management tools to its vast and disparate sources of data, NHSBSA was able to establish a Data Analytics Learning Laboratory (DALL), identifying circa £100m of savings within three months of adopting a suite of Oracle solutions.

Oracle will host the free-to-attend data event at its Scottish headquarters in Linlithgow, pictured.

Abel will be among a series of senior executive speakers on the day; his stragetic focus has been around how cloud-based technologies have removed many economic barriers to participation for organisations which in the past would have struggled to make a business case for the application of predictive analytics to their data-sets. In blog posts, Abel has illustrated how most new business models are data-oriented and how organistions that have failed to innovate have lost their competitive edge. 

Themes at the event will also include how the creation of ‘data exchanges’ – via Oracle’s software – allows Chief Data Officers (CDOs) to continually refine their understanding of data, delivering greater value for their organisations, underpinned by compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other data regulations.

Dominic Stewart, Data Scientist Leader and Harry Snart, Data Analytics Engineer, Oracle UK, will be among the company’s ‘data athletes’ who will be able to explain the technical aspects of data management during the full-day conference at the company’s Linlithgow offices.

Abel adds: “The idea is that everyone who attends the event will be able to leave with something that they can implement at the end of it, with first-rate guidance from our global team of data athletes.”

For a full description of the event themes, agenda, speakers, and to register, visit the link here