Earlier this week InformationWeek, the world's most trusted online community for business technology, published an article on the 9 Best Practices To Minimize Risk when it comes to Data Products. Nathaniel Lin, NFPA’s data analytics & strategy lead contributed to the 10-blog piece and offered some relevant insight into NFPA’s key strategic initiative surrounding data.
Lin joined the NFPA team last summer and has been busy meeting with NFPA stakeholders, partners and like-minded businesses, organizations and manufacturers regarding NFPA’s Data Analytics Sandbox, a test-bed where big and small data is combined with other data, analyzed and utilized to meet fire protection, life safety, community engagement and business objectives.
To understand the importance and potential of data, Lin explains, "you start with a business question, then do a data audit based on the analytics, and you test it to see if the data created a business opportunity or solved a problem. It's like peeling an onion. Once you get through one layer, you discover other layers -- sometimes opportunities you would not know existed unless you asked the right questions and used the right tools.” Lin goes on to explain that at NFPA, "essentially, we're looking to leverage the data that's available out there and aggregate it to create unique value and solutions for our stakeholders - that up until today were not possible."
NFPA’s first data priority is to engage the fire service, the enforcement community and others with a focus on fire prevention, protection and emergency response. In an effort to identify relevant data and forward-thinking partners, Lin’s outreach has resulted in conversations and collaboration with municipalities, government agencies, safety partners, insurance companies, private business, academia, and smart technology manufacturers.
Data also takes center stage at NFPA this spring with a data analytics article in the May/June issue of NFPA Journal. Next month at NFPA’s annual Conference & Expo (C&E) in Las Vegas, the keynote sessions will also focus on sensors, robotics, drones and monitoring technology that will impact fire and disaster response, product design and data capture. Later in the week firefighter Bart van Leeuwen, owner of netage, a Netherlands-based company, will also share his frontline perspective and global data analytics expertise during the C&E featured presentation. The outside-the-box-thinker shares NFPA’s belief that data is not used to its full potential today, saying “The challenge is to unlock data by creating both human and technical connections in organizations so that they can benefit from the potential.” NFPA’s C&E will also feature data-driven and smart solution education sessions and informal speaker forums, as well as a new hands-on, progressive space called the Discovery District that includes NFPA’s Data Analytics Sandbox, a robot petting zoo, a smart solutions showcase, alternative fuel vehicles and more.