A Big Crowd for Big Data

The University of Central Florida College of Sciences, College of Business Administration and College of Engineering and Computer Science hosted the UCF Big Data Symposium on Thursday, January 26, 2017 in the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center.

More than 200 UCF alumni, faculty, students and community partners attended the event to hear the developments in Big Data at UCF. Attendees enjoyed food and drinks as they networked with professionals in the field.

The three UCF colleges with specialized graduate programs in Big Data, including Data Mining, Data Analytics and Management with a Data Analytics Track, set up tables displaying research and information for engaging attendees. Guests also heard from the deans of each college, Michael Georgiopoulos, Ph.D., of engineering, Paul Jarley, Ph.D., of business and Michael Johnson, Ph.D., of sciences, in an opening video at the event.

A faculty member representing each college sat on a panel at the event to answer questions relating to the Big Data research and education in their respective areas. The panel included Shunpu Zhang, Ph.D., chair of the UCF Department of Statistics, Amit Joshi, Ph.D., associate professor of marketing, and Ivan Garibay, Ph.D., director of UCF Research Information Systems and chief information officer at the UCF Office of Research and Commercialization. The panelists discussed practical ways that companies, nonprofits and individuals can tap into Big Data to benefit their communities and society, as well as UCF’s role in preparing students to work in the field.

Robert Porter, Ph.D., executive academic director of the College of Business Administration’s Executive Development Center and lecturer of management, served as the event host and moderator of the panel. After directing the panel through questions regarding Big Data and its role at UCF, Porter welcomed keynote speaker Lee Odess ’99, to the stage.

Odess is a UCF College of Business alumnus and vice president of UniKey Technologies, Inc. He discussed the practical examples of Big Data all around us, and how it can be implemented by both big and small companies.

“For UniKey, we didn’t wake up one day and say, ‘Hey, we need Big Data.’ We did, however, say, ‘Hey, we need to start understanding exactly how, when, where our customers are using the locks and mobile applications powered by UniKey,” he said. “So we put the systems and tools in place to be able to collect every bit of data we could. Then, once we had it, we spent the time to come up with the algorithms and dashboards to easily digest the information. Now, with a touch of a button, we are no longer guessing how, when and where customers are using the product. We are 100 percent clear on it.”

Jeff Coates, associate vice president of UCF Advancement, wrapped up the event with a message on partnerships and the future of Big Data at the university. He encouraged all alumni and partners to stay connected with each other and UCF faculty and students, and to keep the conversation going on what has already become an essential component for businesses moving forward.

Stay connected and engaged by joining the Big Data at UCF Facebook group.

Click the below image to view more photos from the event.

UCF Big Data Symposium 2017

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