Big Data for Development Workshop in Bali

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Pulse Lab Jakarta held a workshop on big data for representatives from the Indonesian government and technology sectors on December 3, 2013 in Bali, Indonesia. 

The event, called “Big Data for National Medium Term Development Plan 2015-2019,” introduced concepts around the use of big data to gain a real-time understanding of social well-being and provide real-time insights on the impact of crises, in order to inform policy responses.

There were three sections to the day focusing on the key elements needed to enable innovation from the ground up. First introducing data science concepts and Pulse Lab Jakarta, second examining big data in an Indonesian context, and third learning about tools, technologies and methodologies.

Introduction to Data Science & Pulse Lab Jakarta

Pulse Lab Jakarta's resident Data Scientist Jong Gun Lee opened the session, explaining the general concepts of Big Data and the work of the Lab. Global Pulse Director Robert Kirkpatrick summarized the opportunities of utilizing big data and real-time analytics to enhance global development. From the Indonesian Ministry of Planning (Bappenas), Dr. Oktorialdi, MA PhD – Head of Center of Data and Information at Ministry of National Planning and Development (Bappenas) – explained how Pulse Lab Jakarta works as a joint innovation/R&D hub, and Vivi Yulaswati, MSc – Director of Social Protection and Welfare at Bappenas – outlined the 2013 research agenda of Pulse Lab Jakarta.  

Big Data in Indonesia

The workshop also featured expert speakers with local knowledge of the digital landscape, beginning with Heru Sutadi, Director of Indonesian ICT Institute, who gave an overview of the Big Data landscape in Indonesia. Yose Rizal, founder of MediaWave Analytics, presented on the emerging field of mood analytics, and Yudhisthira Dwi Wardhana Asnar PhD, lecturer at ITB University, talked about the potential uses of biometric big data. 

Tools, Technology, Methodology

The third plenary session of the day focused on data security, technology infrastructure and methodologies underpinning big data innovation. This session featured Tan Wijaya from IBM Indonesia, talking about improving business processes using data. Dody Sukmayadi MSc. Of Indonesian Geospatial Information Agency Bakosurtanal led a session on how geospatial information could support the use of Big Data for development, and Dr.Iqbal Elyazar at Eijkman Oxford Clinical Research Unit showcased his work, exploring population movement using mobile phone data for malaria elimination in Indonesia.

Pulse Lab Jakarta Context

The idea for the UN Secretary-General’s Global Pulse initiative was inspired by the President of Indonesia, H.E. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who had emphasized the need for timely information to protect vulnerable populations at the time of the global food crisis, during a G20 summit in 2008.

In late 2012 Pulse Lab Jakarta was established through a partnership between the United Nations and the Ministry of National Development and Planning (Bappenas).  

The Lab is pioneering a new approach to tackling development issues, in collaboration with Indonesian government partners including Bappenas, in particular Directorate of Social Protection and Welfare, Directorate of Trade, Investment and International Economy, Directorate of Energy, Telecommunications, and Information, Directorate of Public Health and Nutrition, as well as Ministry of Health, and Ministry of Communication and Information. 

Pulse Lab Jakarta (PLJ) is staffed by data scientists, engineers and a partnership coordinator; the team works closely with government, UN agencies, academia, and the private sector to conduct joint innovation and research projects.  

The annual Pulse Lab Jakarta research agenda is established, in consultation with the Government of Indonesia and the United Nations Country Team, based on national development priorities. Pulse Lab Jakarta projects explore the utility of analyzing social media, and other new sources of digital data to address several social development issues in Indonesia such as changes in food prices, fuel prices, and employment. 

Indonesia is an ideal location for a pulse lab with use of mobile technology and internet penetration having skyrocketed in recent years. A report by Semiocast in 2013 showed that Jakartans were the most active Twitter users and posted 2 percent of the 10.6 billion tweets worldwide.


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