Going from “Sensor to Service” in the data world takes a team of three industry experts in their specific areas to deliver a credible final product or service. Technology evolves so rapidly that any long-term investment in a sensor, platform or unique architecture is likely to become outdated in a few years so by the time you become proficient, the technology may have left you behind. Data service is complex and requires multiple disciplines so better to solve complex problems through strategic partnering. So here they are….the Team of Three.
First up, the Industry Subject Matter Expert (SME) understands the “Problem” to be solved better than anyone. They typically understand the environment and the science behind the data analytic effort and are usually positioned to manage the project. This person/team advises an industry or final customer. But for all the knowledge of the industry and science, they frequently lack the in-depth experience it takes to run the data collection systems or effectively compose the final fused product because of software complexities. Put this person in charge! If the data is wrong, they’ll be the first to know and save you collection and hardware expenses.
Next is the Data Processing and Dissemination Service. Likely, the service (the answer to the problem!) will involve the fusion and co-mingling of a variety data types (raster, sensor, historical, live-feed.) With the right guidance from the SME, the Data Experts can build analytic and presentation products specific to a complex problem. Without the SME, Data Experts will search out a problem that may not be important to the customer and likely only showcase a feature or capability without much relevance to an actual problem.
The last Teammate is the Data Collector. Sensors are often tricky to maintain and ensure accurate data collection. Combine this with deployment platforms such as masts, Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs), moving vehicles, or even in stationary locations in harsh environments and you may find yourself frustrated and overwhelmed by the complexity. Often this sensor technology ends up in the hands of the other two teams and runs the risk of compromised data, risks to the public, or unnecessary expenses due to a lack of knowledge and experience with the technologies. Better to “outsource” this task to people who focus solely on collecting data (with much oversight and guidance from the other two teams!!)
Data brings people together, so use this as a chance to capitalize on the wisdom and experience each brings to the project and identify the right technology for your problem. Most importantly, with this team of three combining their talents and technologies, it leaves room for talent to find new and creative uses of the data that add value to the project beyond its initial scope.