Open Data : one step closer on data with infolab

Infolab kickoff. On the 11th of April, a workshop gathered 70 opendata enthusiasts in Paris. It was organized by La Fing, a french organization which creates, detects and shares novel and actionable ideas to anticipate digital transformations [1], in collaboration with Simon Chignard opendata activist and writer, Claire Gallon from LiberTIC association @LiberTIC promoting opendata, and Sarah Labelle @sl_lab, researcher on Communication and Information Science in Paris Université 13 [2]. The driver for such meeting was to initiate and support a two years program focusing on data, data in all its aspects : data quality, open data, data viz, data we love you. This ambitious program relies on the creation of an Infolab, a physical and digital place where anyone could find recipes to improve data quality, to make the importance of data understood by companies, to mediate the data to the citizen. Going beyond the dogma that open data is a super-exciting-major-topic, the workshop, lead by Amandine Brugière ‏ @abrugiere was really constructive. Representatives from different sectors were here to garantee that conversations hapening here were applicable to private and public sector. Attendees counted : delegations from regions and territories of Nantes, Bordeaux, Rennes, Paris, Poitiers, Lyon, Marseille, but also La Poste, Alcatel Lucent, Silicon Sentier (a startup enabling association), gemalto, caisse des dépôts, … All condidtions were met to make progress on the topic, as mentioned by Gael Musquet, supporting Open Street Map project [2].

Work and findings. Participants split into several workshops. One dedicated to surname data – and what to do with it, driven by Simon Chignard @schignard. A second related to data usage in corporation, driven by Charles Nepote @charlesnepote. A third one related to data visualization, driven by Vincent Mandinau @VincentMandinau and Hervé Paris from ANACT @Anact_, a national agency for improving working conditions. Some experimental findings from it :

–          Data representing companies today, accessible on the web thanks to google search are not efficiently controlled. Google algorithms are a science and companies should learn more about it. We all know that competitive advantage sometimes relies today on a good digital positioning. in addition, harmonization of data format, in a single organization or across several organizations is a nightmare. We all experienced that filling a database with MyCompañy or My Compañy or MYCOMPANY will induce fuzzy statistics. there are definitely rooms of improvement in the private sector to make data relevant.

–          Data usage has to be invented and the best way to do that is to play with sets of data, cross hints, explore intuition and find the queries you would expect t answer. Act before thinking in other words.

–          Data visualization is a good mean to practice *and* discuss the data. A demonstrator was made on unemployment data and attendees could reverse engineer the maps to build their own view. That practice was a wonderful pretext to discuss data and what they could reveal.

Some perspective. Finally an academic presentation was made by Sarah Labelle. Sarah explained the notion of “mediation to citizen” : the fact to encourage people to appropriate a specific topic or knowledge. She illustrated usages in different areas : culture, innovation, pedagogy. In each of those domains, it was demonstrated that recent trends were to mediate via tools. Teachers do integrate experiments in their lessons, museum do play with the visitors, allowing them to have audio guide, interacts with the art pieces. All findings around that kind of mediation could be tested in the area of data.

Infolab proposal. Infolab is offering to create the natural eco-system for progressing. It aims to inspect the possible tools and means to reach the people and make them having at least an opinion, at most an appropriate action plan on how to make data usable and how to exploit them in a smart way. The debate following the workshop raised some questions related to key questions such as what would a data museum look like, how to balance tool and democracy, what is the place of script and non-script in the data treatment, …Large questions that may find answers in the next Infolab meeting.

Super, when do we work again ? Participants were invited to meet again during the opendata european week which will be organized in Marseille, from the 25 to 28th of June, as announced by Stéphane Martayan @smartayan in collaboration with Provence region and La Fing. Save the date of the 27th of June and book your agenda [4] !

* translation of Gael tweet : all actors of french open data are here in the Infolab meeting, a nice familly picture in the house of association from Paris

[1] La Fing

[2] Sarah Labelle research domain [fr]

[3] Open Street Map project OSM

[4] Collaborative day during the open data european week in Marseille, registration

Note : Link to a previous post ‘Opendata : a postcard from France’

Your unconnected tatoo will soon be sooo vintage…

 Imagine. Take all the buzz words you hear in the digital planet [social media, cloud, crowd sourcing, e-health, open data] and instead of claiming it is the future and cross-finger, you analyze the new usages and sociological impacts they trigger. This is what Netexplo team is running after, each year. How can that magic happen ? Netexplo is sponsored by (rich) members, and is funding a team which analyses, collects, segments each year 500 innovative digital projects. Worldwide. 100 projects are selected and 10 of them are pitched during the Netexplo Forum in front of hundreds of attendees. I was there last February and let me witness that attending Netexplo Forum was a real experience. Just like learning the best of digital in two days.

What made the digital world shaking in 2012 ? Julien Levy was the spokesman of Netexplo team this year and exposed the identified trends. Obviously the Netexplo Trends report 2013 can not be sum up in few lines, but some of the key concepts were shared during Julien talk [1]. Cloud, appearance, digital immanence. Each of the concept was illustrated by projects developed by start up or research labs. Lets review the main concepts.

Cloud Care. Thanks to the network built by the connected people, machines and devices, some amazing services can be invented.

Taking care of objects. By deploying sensors and processors everywhere, it is possible to monitor a grid of water pumps, or balance the humidity of a natural eco-system.

Taking care of people. By connecting patients, robots, doctors, application can ease the patient journey. This may be particularly valid for the elders, who can be helped in their day to day life. Care Square was one of the projects awarded, which principle resided in a very simplified tablet, offering basic graphic user interface.

Taking care of opinion. By collecting opinion, comments, views, people can fine-tune their own opinion, choosing to endorse or not others advices.

Crowd cops. Taking care all together, replacing cops. By connecting the people and calling on their vigilance, material incidents can be declared in cities, or rescue team can be supported by bringing more local information, family and relatives can monitor each other, consumers can also report bad usages of companies or politics. This can be a way to introduce again solidarity among people. But the dark side of the crowd cop also exists. Employers tracking employees. Shops tracking customers. The right balance may be in the mutual agreement of monitoring and being monitored (but who knows what are the condition for a real free agreement).

Beyond the appearance. The main question for citizen and consumers facing the digital ocean is : Will web 2.0 marketing fool me ? How can I detect the truth behind the messages ? New expertise is required here and the collective experience collected thanks to the crowd may be a great tool to balance the super marketing machines.

Fact checking. By measuring the reality, thanks to sensors, the reality can be augmented, and become an augmented reality for everyone. Reality can be transmitted to disabled, to countermeasure their disability. Additional information about item, food, goods, books, can be found just by taking picture, recording sound, using laser. An interesting example is the China Survival Manual, an anonymous application, which alerts consumers to health risks. Another application which has been intensively adverted those days is the french ‘Citoyens Capteurs‘ (citizen as sensors), selected in the 100 projects, which allows each citizen to measure the air pollution and participate to scientific experiment. A last example awarded in the top 10 was Zéro-Gâchis, a application allowing supermarket to declare their items close to their sell-by date in nearby supermarkets. Less wastage, better consumption, more respect for the earth and production cycle.

Body Checking. The same applies to body. Blood pressure can be detected on faces, leading to potential interpretation of emotions. Parkinson can be diagnosed by voice analysis from 20 minutes of sample conversation (see Parkinson Voice Initiative project). health care can become in that case hell scary.

Reality and digital merging. Where the reality is helping you in your day to day life, with no effort from you. the connection, the context, the integration of the machines or devices are a support for the citizen. example with the Google glasses, but also the shoes guiding your way, lightened on the right when you should turn right. The best illustration for that amazing integration was Windows Of Opportunity WOO. WOO makes the windows of car a new area to play, to learn, to share. While driving in Paris, you may see the window of another car driving in Tokyo. You could also share music from other drivers stuck in the same traffic jam… WOO is a technology providing an interactive and contextual screen, in which you can imagine any funny or educative application. The winner of the Netexplo report was the Electronic Tatoos, a technology allowing to lay some electronic circuit on the skin, flexible and resistant enough to look like a tatoo. While not being already deployed, the technological challenge was amazing enough to make everyone dreaming or being frightened by the large scale of possible applications. Imagine, you wear data and emit messages, anytime…

Digital immanence. The digital and the real do not have borders, they are the world. More then having physical or technological fusion, you have a personal involvement in digital, that may affect your emotion, soul, mental illness. SPARX is a game to help depressive teenagers understanding their illness and highlight progresses. Teenagers do recover easily playing in a virtual society… you just need to design the appropriate situations and dialogs.

To sum-up. Trends covered the connected device, machine, people, brains. And Julien Levy ended with an embarrassing question – while we were all tweeting and surfing. What about usages in case our world would be disconnected. Panic ? Alternatives ? This may be a good topic for 2014 Netexplo Forum.

Which of the 2012 innovations will shape 2013 ? Probably none of them. Those innovations may definitely need to mature before they become actual democratic usages, so we should better wait for them in two or three years. Netexplo Forum offered a really good picture of where the digital world may go and it is up to each of us to think about the kind of word we want to shape for the future….

[1] Netexplo trends by Julien Levy

Note : look at the Bluenod map to track who tweeted what during the event Day1 : Day2 : (Twitter account required)

How I became digital !

This will be a Friday confession. I have been entering the digital world two years ago. Yes only two years ago. I mean, I started working with internet in 1994 when studying at the university, sharing with other researchers, flirting with my boyfriend via talk and mails, but I have been exploiting the digital innovation and social media intensively since 2 years. And I must say it changed my life – and probably the one of my relatives.What is it that is so attractive to make me jumping and staying in this area ?

Data and tools

Why am I on the net ? Because I am trying to understand where our world is going, what are the evolutions the human being is currently living and how it is surviving to it. Great program, is not it ? And if you wanna get that information, you may have interest to be someone in the digital arena, be someone to join communities, have the information coming to you or be able to build a common understanding with others. And tools are there. I should say user friendly, free and easy to manage applications are available here and around. How to create your digital identity, how to understand the other one’s, how to record or track data, how to curate information. All is here, one click far from you. And even if I have a bias view due to the security environment I have the default to work for, I am able to have a digital life using those tools, taking care of my own privacy and security. I am concentrating myself on Twitter, blog with WordPress, LinkedIn, and playing with and Klout – still trying to find what does those bring to me. But lets be frank, this is not tools that pushed me to stay digital. The others did. (more…)