Smart Data Collection in Crisis Situation

Thursday, 23. April 2020
On Wednesday, 22 April 2020, SARIO has organized its next free webinar within its Innovation Services, this time on the topic of “Smart Data Collection in Crisis Situations”.

The aim of the webinar was to provide the audience of more than 40 registered participants (mainly from business, embassies, municipalities and academia) with recent insights of three Slovak technology companies operating in smart data collection and analysis, reflecting mainly the current emergency situation.

The speakers of the online discussion, moderated by Oto Pisoň (Deputy Head of Department & Innovation Manager, SARIO) were Michal Ukropec (CEO, Infotech), Pavol Magic (CEO, Biotron Labs) and Miloš Molnár (CEO, Trivia Data). The webinar was opened by Róbert Šimončič, SARIO’s CEO, who, in addition to the introduction of the Innovation and Diversification Services of the agency, also highlighted other recent activities of SARIO, like the summarizing of approved COVID-19 related economic measures for businesses. These can be found on SARIO’s webpage in Slovak and English
After this, all three speakers presented technological data-driven solutions developed by their firms that can be utilized also during the current exceptional situation in various use-cases. For instance: real-time tracking of materials & equipment, detection of proper use of facemasks, measurement of parking density, traffic intensity in petrol stations and others. The webinar in its second half continued by a lively debate of all panelists, discussing their insights, expectations and possible outcomes of the present pandemic situation. Participants shared their experience in a broad variety of topics, covering industry, smart cities and traditional data-driven sectors like banks and telecommunications.

Infotech’s CEO, Mr. Ukropec showed a relatively positive attitude towards future regarding both business opportunities for his own company as well as data-driven applications in general. However, he admitted, that his opinion varies significantly in time as Infotech’s clients are changing their behavior and requirements. According to him, it is clear that people will travel less and become more attentive to cost-efficiency, but this is only a part of the solution and managers on all levels should avoid their old paper-based solutions and past experience and start to rely more on data-based applications, tracking platforms and AI-like solutions.
 
Pavol Magic from Biotron Labs appreciated, that current crisis is teaching people that data are not a far-future phenomenon anymore, but are a very present feature. He hopes that data analytics and informed decision-making will soon become a new norm. As almost everything is (or has) a sensor, it is important to know to what extent they collect data, who has access to them and how they are analyzed. He did not forget to point out security and privacy as primary concerns for everyone working with data, what in practice means their anonymization in order to prevent any possible back-tracking to a specific device or person. He also expects that a form of social distancing will be present even after the pandemic, which will influence mobility and workplaces, as people will try to avoid public transportation and work in an environment with lower people density.
 
Miloš Molnár has presented his perspective on more traditional data-oriented sectors, as Trivia Data’s clients are coming mainly from the telco, banking and insurance business. These entities already collect and store a huge amount of data about their clients, but now they also have to think how to use them in different ways (e.g. warning messages, ad offers, or transfer customer service from their physical branches). This represents the biggest challenge for them, as no chatbots or online application cannot substitute direct and personal interactions. He also highlighted the ethical limits of working with data regarding privacy standards, which are, however, much lower in the Asian markets, where a majority of Trivia Data’s clients operate. Mr. Molnár was also quite optimistic about the future as his company’s business model is already, to a large extent, based on remote contacts and he looks forward to the growing importance of big data and data analytics as such in the years to come.
 
Overall, the webinar has covered the topic of smart data collection and analysis not only from traditional industries, such as banks, insurance or telecommunication companies, but it also touched upon unconventional smart factory, city or mobility concepts. To conclude, in order to make well informed decisions, it is clear that people in their personal and professional lives want and need to be informed quickly, through high quality inputs. The current situation can teach us how to properly interpret data, which will be useful also after the crisis.
 
SARIO is planning further webinars on multiple interesting topics in the upcoming weeks. For more information please refer to our SARIO webpage and other communication channels of our agency.