Hadoop Usergroup UK September 2015 #hug_uk

Last night I went to the monthly hadoop user group at impressive Digital Catapult venue opposite the british library.  This is an enormous glass box perched on top of an old building.  And what a curious company – a not for profit private company (sort of funded by another not for profit government organisation) working to improve various aspects of the digital economy.  Must be a pretty interesting place to work.

Anyway the agenda was most interesting – a couple of keynotes followed by the pitches of 8 minutes each.  I was initially unclear of the purpose of the pitches but as it went on it became clear – the audience was a even balance of business folk, tech people and VC type people.  So the purpose of the pitch was generally either for recruitment, or for funding.  A pretty clever place to recruit people.

Here’s my comments/views on the 6 pitches. One thing to note – At an event like this you may as well turn off predictive text on your phone. None of these company names are real words!


Machine learning as a service (ahem – again).  Interesting ideas. A specific focus on time series data, and teaching the machine to truly understand time.  The audience was incredulous!


A company trying to bring down the cost of satellite imagery and at the same time improve the accuracy and timeliness of this data.  Social observations was mentioned, but I didn’t really see how that came into it.  Interesting response to some pretty crucial privacy issues/problems.


Bringing the comoditised analytics readily available in the mobile world to IOT.  Machine learning with dedicated models for specific situations.  Point made that there’s really nothing that makes this specific to IOT – it’s just that IOT is a good market to chase right now (few standards, no existing dedicated analytics solutions etc)  However I don’t really see why IOT is different to any other analytic situation, it’s just data, but each to their own..

Another interesting point though – they hope to publish open dashboard templates – this could be interesting – For a long time there has been a lack of standardisation in the data world – we all end up building the same dashboards again and again, this sort of idea definitely has mileage.


Monitoring and reporting on news.  Text analytics and intelligent categorisation using data from e.g. Wikipedia.  Team of 25 with 15 clients already and a sales team which has only just got off the ground.  Using the currently uber-cool language Clojure.


The worlds most accurate speech recognition software. Claimed to be 25% more accurate than other leaders.  Interesting applications beyond basic speech recognition – such as automated language tests etc.  Self learning so can learn new languages quickly.  Going to have a battle to beat the big boys but the offline option for handsets is certainly interesting.


By far and away the most impressive pitch.  A model where unstructured data is structured into events and then analysed. Used by defence, finance and airline industries. Flexible.  The model identified a significant event in ukraine a week before any of the western news agencies started reporting it.  Potentially exciting applications in the area of AID distribution in disaster zones.  Apparently the first tech company to be spun out from Cambridge university.  These guys are recruiting rather than looking for funding.  Technology is Kafka (cool) and Storm (err, really? Someone is using it then…)

Looking forward to more pitch events – they’re very interesting!

Maybe we should do one at Pentaho London Usergroup ?

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