Migratory data: the distributed data you carry with you

Alasdair Allan (The Thing System, Inc.)
Data Science, Mission City B1
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Big data isn’t just about multi-terrabyte data sets hidden inside eventually-concurrent distributed databases in the cloud, or enterprise-scale data warehousing, or even the emerging market in data. It’s also about the hidden data you carry with you all the time, about the slowly growing data sets on your movements, contacts and social interactions.

Until recently most people’s understanding of what can actually be done with the data collected about us by our own cell phones was theoretical; there were few real-world examples. But over the last couple of years this has changed dramatically.

This talk will discuss the data that you carry with you; the data on your cell phone and other mobile devices, along with the possibilities for making use of that hidden data to reveal things about our lives that we might not realise ourselves. We will explore the types of data that is collected, and the online data sources that you could be usefully cross-correlated with it.

Photo of Alasdair Allan

Alasdair Allan

The Thing System, Inc.

Alasdair Allan is a Scientist, Author, Hacker and Tinkerer, and co-founder of a startup working on fixing the Internet of Things.

He is the author of a number of books, and from time to time he also stands in front of cameras. You can often find him at conferences talking about interesting things, or deploying sensors to measure them. He recently rolled out a mesh network of five hundred sensors motes covering the entire of Moscone West during Google I/O. He’s still recovering.

He sporadically writes blog posts about things that interest him, or more frequently provides commentary in 140 characters or less. He is a contributing editor for MAKE magazine, and a contributor to the O’Reilly Radar.

A few years ago he caused a privacy scandal by uncovering that your iPhone was recording your location all the time. This caused several class action lawsuits and a U.S. Senate hearing. Several years on, he still isn’t sure what to think about that.

Alasdair is a former academic. As part of his work he built a distributed peer-to-peer network of telescopes which, acting autonomously, reactively scheduled observations of time-critical events. Notable successes included contributing to the detection of±what was at the time—the most distant object yet discovered, a gamma-ray burster at a redshift of 8.2.

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  • Splunk
  • Tableau Software
  • Talend

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