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Debating the impact of big data on critical infrastructure.

The increasing velocity, variety and volume of data, coined as big data, is well recognised in government and business as having major and critical influences on the way in which society operates, both now and in the future.    

Lloyd’s Register (LR) is a global engineering, technical and business services organisation wholly owned by the Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF), a UK charity dedicated to research and education in science and engineering. With revenues of around £1bn and some 9,000 employees worldwide, LR responds to and seeks to drive some of the most relevant global technologies.    

As part of its work in this area, the Lloyd’s Register Foundation’s forum on big data, held on Monday 17 March 2014, drew together leading names in the research field to debate the impact of big data on society and the way in which we all conduct our business safely, securely and reliably.  

The forum, led by LRF’s Professor Richard Clegg and Sir Mark Walport, the UK's Government Chief Scientific Adviser, and guest speakers Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt of Southampton University, and Dermot Joyce, CEO of Liberata, opened the debate with a review of the challenges and opportunities created by big data.  

A number of key themes surfaced during the debate - data privacy and security; the impact of big data on the resilience of supply chains; the education and skills needed to capitalise on opportunities; applications of crowd-sourced data; open data standards and the need for effective curation, persistence & migration of data; and how businesses which fail to adapt will face competition from niche organisations outside of their traditional competition base.  

A panel made up of Lloyd’s Register’s CEO, Richard Sadler, Mr Alan Walker, Head of Policy at the Royal Academy of Engineering, and Mr Peter Bonfield, CEO of the Building Research Establishment, highlighted that big data has the potential to cause a paradigm shift in traditional approaches to maintaining and understanding the built environment.   

The Lloyd’s Register Foundation is commissioning an international academic expert panel, chaired by Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt, to provide a detailed assessment of technology trends in the field of Big Data and the impact these are having on society. The expert panel is expected to deliver its report to the Lloyd’s Register Foundation in July 2014, which will be published and made freely available.  

In the meantime, follow the debate on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=7478407, where you can view the presentations and audio by asking to join the group, and Twitter #LRbigdata.

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