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Predict Conference in Dublin’s RDS featured data science areas like AI and how its becoming key in helping plan for smart cities and sustainable services across the globe.

As storm Lorenzo raged out in the Atlantic, Dublin was hit with a rain storm of its own thanks to global warming’s latest warning to humanity. After battling high winds, an unruly umbrella and a delayed bus service to the RDS for Predict 2019, I certainly understood why Predict’s attendance was somewhat thin compared to my last time in 2017; when enormous crowds rather then the sunshine made me think Bon Jovi may make a guest appearance.

Predict Conference 2019 reviewed

I was happy to make Predict’s fifth anniversary where I left my wet layers in the cloakroom and preceded to take a look around at the Yellow and Blue Stages where talks were proceeding at pace. The exhibition stands held many data science vendors such as Wolfram, Equinox and of course Creme Global. There was a good industry presence there also with CeADAR, DATA.GOV.IE, DatSci Awards, CoderDojo plus more.

My expedition to the RDS on Dublin’s south side brought unexpected tardiness to my arrival. With that in mind, I was spurred me into action to attend my first talk in the yellow stage area, which was from Mark Braithwaite from Wolfram, who gave a talk on AI Live: No Experience Required.

Data, Sustainability, Smart Cities and AI

Mark’s presentation centred on the Wolfram AI platform and how its highly abstracted design can allow you to do wonderful things with little to no coding experience. The autonomous features of the AI’s processing algorithms did produce some very handy outcomes such as automated image clustering based on visual analysis and data correlation. The platform’s under the hood features certainly looked impressive on first impression.

Upon the completion of Mark’s talk, I had lunch with some interesting people including Ben Dodson, who gave an earlier talk on Low-Latency Model Prediction with Video. His love of AI and its enormous potential shined when we talked about AI in video streaming and also content analysis. The conversation even moved onto edge network devices and how AI can help. After lunch, and some more interesting conversations with attendees; some familiar, some new, I went into the blue stage area and attended my next event from the selection of short talks ongoing between both stages.

William Hynes from Future Analytics gave a talk on Analytics of the City. He talked about the concept of smart cities and how the project he is involved in called CityXChange is looking to transform the future of smart cities using inclusionary planning techniques and stakeholder buy in. His project seeks to ensure a data driven model will formulate innovative data driven planning policies that enhance the use of land, buildings and essential services to improve the quality of life for the inhabitants.

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It is an ambitious pan European project that certainly speaks well for the future. Interestingly enough Paolo Alto in California along with Singapore and Barcelona in Spain was heralded by William as current gold standard smart cities that they have studied in their own project research.

At a break recess, I talked with more interesting people in the main exhibition/coffee area, and then went back to the blue stage area to listen to Dr. Edward Curry on Internet of Things Enhanced User Experience for Smart Water and Energy Management. Dr. Curry went into detail on this project, which ties into the general strategy of doing more with less in our environment.

It’s a noble goal indeed and the project was impressively structured in its approach towards user interaction and experience. The transtheoretical model outlines a responsive step by step approach to adoption based on the user experience where benefits tangible and intangible are presented to the group and the individual via site access information on billboards and public terminals.

He also went into the benefits of the user account dashboard feature, which houses their usage information including their contribution in energy saving achievements for the group, and the individual in co2 emissions, water and energy costs plus more. Test sites like Milan Linate airport returned positive test results on water savings, changing attitudes to water and energy usage in a way that seems scalable to me. Exiting times ahead for sure.

Brendan Ring from Creme Global went into detail on sustainable packaging and the solutions been worked on in Data Modelling for Better Sustainable Packaging. It’s nice to see cyclical manufacturing process models are making a comeback, which will definitely help us all build a better future.

Creme’s work will be challenging given the inertia the concept had with industry in the late 1990s and early 2000s. That said, given the rise of the threat global warming poses along with changing attitudes towards our environment, I am hopeful that it will yield results, which will positively impact our lives and that of our children.

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After chatting with more interesting people in the exhibition area, I head home in fairer weather with a clear understanding that even if the storm of global warming has been ignored most horribly in some quarters, Predict on its 5th anniversary has offered a general theme that data science technology as a whole is not only able to help humanity in its fight to save resources and the planet; it is working hard to make it so. A noble and enduring thought for the end of day making the bus ride home a most pleasant venture indeed.

See more articles by John here.

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