Case Studies

BYTE will use the following case studies to produce evidence-based, clear and precise questions based on rigorous scholarship that illuminate opportunities and problems and possible solutions to be further investigated in the BYTE roadmap. The identification of these externalities will be complemented by a horizontal analysis to identify challenges, opportunities and externalities that are cross-disciplinary in nature, and thus relevant to big data as a whole. The consortium will also devise a methodology for measuring how these externalities may be amplified and the negative externalities diminished to enable the consortium, and eventually the big data community, to monitor progress and identify areas where further support is needed.

These case studies involve organisations actively using big data for specific purposes and enable BYTE to understand strategies, actions and changes in behaviour associated with big data and identify their resultant positive and negative externalities. Furthermore, it will enable BYTE to better predict the type of regulatory environment that would allow European actors to take advantage of potential positive externalities and diminish negative externalities.

Environment case study: Earth and space observation portals and associated initiatives

The Institutions Development Implementation Board (IDIB) of the Group on Earth Observation (GEO) represents the BYTE environmental case study. GEO’s vision is a future where decisions and actions, for the benefit of humankind, are informed by coordinated, comprehensive and sustained Earth observations and information: for sound science to shape sound policy.

For a decade now, GEO has been driving the interoperability of many thousands of individual space-based, airborne and in situ Earth observations around the world. Often these separate systems yield just snapshot assessments, leading to critical gaps in scientific understanding. GEO is addressing such gaps by coordinating the realisation of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), a global network of content providers providing easy, open access to organized observations that enable an increasingly integrated view of our changing Earth. From developed and developing nations battling drought and disease, to emergency managers making evacuation decisions, farmers making planting choices, companies evaluating energy costs, and coastal communities concerned about sea-level rise, leaders and other decision-makers require this fuller picture as an indispensable foundation of sound decision-making.

GEOSS will be operational in 2015, but already interconnects more than thirty autonomous infrastructures, and allows discovering and accessing more than 70 million of extremely heterogeneous environmental datasets. The IDIB, composed of around 20 members and other experts from related areas, coordinates GEO’s efforts to ensure that GEOSS is sustainable, relevant and widely used. It focuses on reinforcing data sharing, resource mobilisation, capacity development, user engagement and science and technology integration. As such, the GEO-IDIB had and has to face several challenges related to Big Data in GEOSS.

Utilities / smart cities case study: Utilities and smart cities big data utilisers (various)

These BYTE partners will support a case study focusing on integrated management of multi-modal resource infrastructures which aims at optimising public water supply, distributed heating, electricity network operations and public transport. Types of data involved in the case study include publicly available data, such as generation profiles of renewables, weather forecasting data or traffic information, as well as the correlation of this data with the utilities’ proprietary information including high-resolution metering data and customer billing information. Potential externalities to be addressed through this case study include privacy, data security, as well as those concerning access to data for cross-sector optimisation and policy decisions.


Cultural data case study: A Pan-European Cultural Heritage Organisation (PECHO)

PECHO is a large-scale collaborative operation which provides access to more than 25 million digitised objects (such as books, sculptures, paintings, films, maps, etc.) from cultural heritage institutions in Europe. Cultural data is unique in that it is not as easily converted into numbers and codes which can be “crunched” and analysed; however texts, artefacts and objects are the most enduring types of data generated by human societies. Furthermore, texts, artefacts and objects also raise unique externalities, including:  forging new connections between diverse cultural artefacts, effectively managing intellectual property and licensing rights, providing open access to publicly held data, designing useful and effective metadata, making content in diverse formats searchable and interoperable, addressing ethical issues associated with making sensitive religious or cultural data publicly available, and encouraging the re-usage of this data by different communities etc.


Energy case study: Big data explorers and producers for oil and gas (various)

The energy case study will be conducted in collaboration with  well-established international energy producer, and big data explorers within the field. These BYTE partners have enormous (petabytes) volumes of data, including, relational data stored in Oracle databases (e.g., measurements of pressure, colour and temperature), application-bounded formats (e.g., data for a fluid model simulator) and Windows application files (e.g., Excel and PowerPoint files presented in collaborative meetings). Potential externalities that this case study will address include; efficiency issues such as improving employee performance, increased occupational safety and hazard regulation, optimal extraction of energy resources and associated climate impacts.


Health case study: A Genetic Research Initiative (GRI)

The health case study will be focused on genetic data and conducted with GRI. The case study will be based on GRI’s initiative which involves working with congenital disorders to enable the discovery of new genes, the identification of disease and innovation in health care. The GRI initative offers BYTE a unique case study of the controversial social externalities surrounding big data in pharmaceutical and healthcare innovation, as well as improved public health outcomes, providing efficiencies in healthcare services, reducing government healthcare expenditures, privacy, data protection and potential for discrimination.


Transport case study: Shipping industry stakeholders

The transport BYTE partner will work with selected shipping companies and equipment vendors to support a case study focusing on the increased availability and use of data in the maritime industry. Commercial shipping is very important for the global economy; 90% of international trade is carried on keel by a world fleet of roughly 100,000 commercial vessels. Data is increasingly being used in shipping and advanced operators are now using public data in combination with operational data to optimize operations and supply chain, and to save energy. Another strong trend is that on-board equipment is instrumented by vendors and this data is transferred on-shore and used to monitor performance and to facilitate trouble shooting and predictive maintenance. Types of data involved in the case study include publicly available data, such as weather, weather forecast data and traffic data like automatic identification system (AIS) data, operational data and condition monitoring data. Potential externalities to be addressed through this case study include data security, as well as those concerning access to data for cross-sector optimisation, risk monitoring by third parties and policy decisions.


Crisis informatics case study: A Research Institute for Crisis Computing (RICC)

This case study will examine the role of big data in crisis informatics and crisis response activities. The team will work with the RICC to examine externalities associated with the use of big data to identify crises and to respond to those events. RICC is committed to collaborating directly with organisations to identify operational challenges that could be tackled using big data techniques, and to deploy scientific methods from advanced computing to make sense of big data. The Institute specifically uses a combination of human computing (crowd sourcing) and machine computing (artificial intelligence) to evaluate citizens’ needs during or immediately after crises. The case study will enable BYTE to examine issues related to economic and innovation impacts associated with open source software for big data analytics, political issues around cross-border data collection and legal issues, including intellectual property and privacy issues related to the use social media data and the validity of high velocity data.