This year, one of the most interesting guests attending Digital DNA is academic and founder of Scheduit, Dr Abdalla Kablan.
We caught up with Dr Abdalla to hear more about his background, business success and tap into his specialist understanding of big data analytics.
Q. Dr Kablan, can you tell us a little about your career so far?
My background is quite interdisciplinary. As a professional I’m a computer scientist specialising in machine learning and data science, as an academic I’m a computational intelligence lecturer and researcher specialising in high frequency financial analysis and as an entrepreneur I’m the founder of Scheduit, a match-making app for business professionals and co-founder of Hippo Data, a quantitative social data analytics company.
I got my PhD at a relatively young age and was lucky enough to work on various research projects for some great companies as a doctorate candidate, which has opened many doors since. More recently, I have worked with financial institutions, private firms, public sector entities, and academic institutions on areas relating to high frequency finance, big data analytics, artificial intelligence and asset tracing.
“The highlight of my career has to be founding Scheduit
Despite winning various research and development awards, the highlight of my career has to be founding Scheduit – an endeavour that allows me to combine my technical knowhow with my passion for collaboration and innovation.
Q. How can businesses take advantage of Scheduit?
One of the prime assets of any company has always been its network, but never has a vast, varied list of contacts been so important, in such a fast moving, competitive global market. A company’s ability to leverage its relationships in order to acquire knowledge, clients, funding and widen its network gives it a significant competitive edge. Scheduit can help companies develop and nurture this advantage.
“A company’s ability to leverage its relationships gives it a significant competitive edge
Scheduit is a matchmaking app used for efficient professional networking. By encouraging its key strategic personnel to sign up to Scheduit, organise meetings with new, compatible contacts, and expand their professional network, the company will be able to see a much higher return on investment than traditional methods of networking.
Scheduit’s intelligent compatibility measure helps to minimise the time wasted pursuing cold leads. This function is particularly useful when it comes to conferences and events such as Digital DNA.
Q. You specialise in big data analytics – why is this so important for businesses today?
Big data analytics is the process of acquiring, organising and analysing large data sets to uncover patterns and other valuable insights. This helps businesses to create a clearer understanding of the information contained within this data and can also assist in pinpointing the data that is most pertinent to the business’s needs and informs decisions that need to be made.
At the moment big data analytics is a challenge for most businesses due to the volume, variety and speed at which this data is being generated, together with the various structures of these data sets (both structured and unstructured data), businesses need to be able to combine, contrast and analyse this data rapidly in order to exploit the competitive advantage. Information is power, but the right information at the right time can be game changing.
“Big data analytics is the process of acquiring, organising and analysing large data sets to uncover patterns and other valuable insights
The key focus for businesses should now be identifying what problems to prioritise and which solutions, informed by big data and analytics, will have the most impact across the board.
Q. What important trends in big data analytics should we be aware of?
Big data trends are appearing and evolving faster than ever before. From Sensor Driven Data analytics based on advances in the field of IOT (the internet of things) to Multipolar Analytics, which emphasise an approach where information analysis is community driven and includes inputs from the business units and data scientists alike.
I’m noticing that many businesses are already leveraging paradigms, such as hybrid transaction/analytical processing (HTAP), which allow transactions and analytic processes to be performed within the same in-memory database. Furthermore, some businesses are focusing on deep learning, which is a set of machine-learning models that are based on neural network architectures and which enable computers to recognise items of interest in big datasets of unstructured and binary data, and to discover relationships without the need of specific models or instructions. Finally, one of the most common trends these days is the use of SQL-like querying platforms, which allow business users who are only familiar with SQL to apply traditional standard techniques to their current data sets for example SQL on Hadoop opens the door for using Hadoop in the enterprise.
Dr Abdalla Kablan and some the Scheduit team at their Malta offices
Q. What analytics tools would you recommend that businesses should consider using?
It’s important to note that the analytics tools a company uses depend on its requirements, which vary according to industry and to the company’s stage of development. For example, a technology startup, which is focused solely on developing its technology has little reason to check its website analytics (e.g. Google Analytics). However, analytic insight is essential as soon as marketing begins. Some general analytics worth checking out include customer service metrics (e.g. using Freshdesk), financial reports from your accounting software, and marketing metrics such as new email sign-ups per month and new customers per month.
Tools to Consider
- Google Analytics
- Hippo Data
Businesses with a dedicated intelligence unit should be able to use programming environment such as MATLAB, which is a statistical computing software developed by MathWorks, which allows matrix manipulations, plotting of data and implementation of simple algorithms to assist organisations in making sense of their data. R is also an open source programming language, which is popular with data scientists due to its statistical modelling and computing capabilities.
Finally, as co-founder of Hippo Data, I would obviously have to recommend our quantitative social analytics tool to measure the impact of social media activity on various topics.
Q. Finally, what are you looking forward to most about Digital DNA 2015?
I’m really looking forward to meeting with innovators and thought leaders at this fantastic event, thanking the organisers for doing such a great job in growing the tech and startup scene in Belfast and I hope that Scheduit helps attendees identify people and partnerships that add real value and that some lasting connections are made.
Delegates attending Digital DNA can sign up for Scheduit with their Linkedin accounts at http://beta.scheduit.com.
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**High demand for tickets means that we have taken extra space at Titanic Belfast but tickets are limited. If you hope to join us make sure to book your ticket now