March Lunch ‘n Learn with Mark Morreale

The term ‘Big Data’ has become a media buzzword. Rarely a day goes by without an industry analyst discussing its virtues and potential. Generally speaking, it refers to the enormous volumes of information that are being accumulated each and every day. But what exactly is it? How is it used? And what does it mean for businesses and consumers?

Mark Morreale of SAS, the global leader in business analytics, addressed these questions and explored some of the trends driving the use of Big Data as the keynote presenter for iF’s March Lunch ‘n Learn.

IMG_1890Mark is an Epidemiologist with over 20 years of experience in the Canadian healthcare system. Before joining SAS, Mark worked in several analytics positions for the pharma sector, hospitals, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Health Canada. Currently, Mark’s role is to facilitate relationships and industry partnerships with academics and SAS.

Mark kicked off his discussion by explaining what Big Data actually is: when volume, velocity and variety of data exceeds an organization’s storage or compute capacity for accurate and timely decision-making. He said that before 2011, virtually no one had heard of these terms in this context.

As well, he noted that Big Data as a term is relative as opposed to absolute; it’s simply when data outgrows an organization and it’s capacity, big or small.

Mark’s presentation also covered key drivers in any organization to make them consider implementing data analytics, and discussed trends in Big Data, such as costs for storage, memory and computing per gigabyte having decreased significantly since the year 2000. You can view his full slide deck here and photos from the event here.

IMG_1883At each month’s Lunch ‘n Learn we also feature an up-and-coming iF client to share a 5-minute highlight of their business. This month’s Factory 5 was Peter Basl of Ranggo, which is a mobile application focused on solving the missing link between restaurants and their patrons. Thank to both Mark and Peter for sharing your stories with us!

Our Lunch ‘n Learn events are a great way to get out and network while enjoying a free lunch and learning something new! Make sure to keep checking our event calendar for upcoming Lunch ‘n Learns and other events in the ecosystem.


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