On 2nd February 2018, the BigDataEurope (BDE) societal challenge on transport (SC4) hosted its third and final hangout. Entitled “The Way Forward for Big Data in Transport”, the hangout presented the results of the work done in the BDE project and discussed the advancements of big data in the transport sector.
Maxime Flament (ERTICO – ITS Europe) opened the webinar and welcomed participants. He went through the agenda points and opened the first poll of the webinar, in order to identify the background of the participants. It was clear that an equal amount of software engineers, researchers, and transport experts were present, as well as some public and local authorities.
Josep Maria Salanova Grau (CERTH) then introduced the BDE project and explained how it sought to harness big data for transport. His presentation is available below.
This presentation was followed by the second poll, asking participants about their hesitations in using big data. For most participants, it seemed that the financial aspects of acquiring data sets was the primary worry, followed by lack of expertise in data science or related fields and privacy issues.
Then Maxime Flament (ERTICO – ITS Europe) gave a brief overview of the workshop that SC4 organised in September. It was the third, and final, workshop for BDE SC4. In contrast to the first workshop, which aimed to identify user needs and requirements, and the second workshop, which presented the offerings of the BDE platform and explained how it can apply to the transport pilot site in Thessaloniki, the third workshop presented the results of BDE. When the BDE project started out, integrating data into the transport sector was still a novel idea. Now it has become a game-changer with ever-increasing importance. The workshop also highlighted the need to have the right data at the right time and at the right place. More information is available in the presentation below.
Another interesting poll was launched after this presentation, showing that vehicle information is by far the most used data set amongst participants.
After this poll, Luigi Selmi (Fraunhofer IAIS) presented the Big Data Integrator Platform (BDI). The Platform is the key outcome of the BDE project. It provides an integrated stack of tools that allow large-scale data resources to be processed, analysed and published without the need for native installations of additional tools for data processing at scale. As an ecosystem of specifications and reference implementations, the BDI has tremendous potential for deployment across sectors and for a range of players in the data value chain.
The final presentation in the webinar was from the Rajendra Akerkar (Vestlandsforsking) of the LeMO project, with which BDE has already established a good collaboration. The LeMO project participated in the BDE SC4 workshop in September and has contributed a blog entry on the future of big data in transport to the BDE website. Their presentation at the webinar focused on the objectives of the LeMO project. LeMO will carry out a seven case studies and, based on their results, develop recommendations and a roadmap, which policy makers will be able to use to make better-informed decisions. You can find out more about the LeMO project in the presentation below.
After the LeMO presentation, webinar participants were asked to cast their vote in the last poll, this time concerning the LeMO case studies. As could have been expected, most of the BDE followers present at the webinar would like to learn more about the open data and transport case study that LeMO will undertake.
Finally, the webinar also left room for a question and answer session. Participants wanted to know how they could get involved in BDE and get help from BDE for their big data projects. Since the BDE project officially concluded in December 2017, this is a very pertinent question. Interested participants can visit GitHub (here) or contact the BDE consortium, which will continue to be available to assist in training people to use the framework.
Another interesting question was raised about whether or not EU funded projects such as BDE can have a real impact and compete with technology giants like Google or Apple. According to the BDE consortium, Google and Apple will always be competitors and the coming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will set more limitations on data. Nonetheless, it is important to continue competing and pushing for advancements and results, even though the competition might be fierce.