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On the quest for advanced analytics: governance and the Internet of Things

YOW! Data 2018

Data scientists dream of crystal clear data lakes and perfectly ordered warehouses with comprehensive dictionaries, consistent formats and never a null value or encoding error to mar their analysis. The reality, however, is that the bulk of time on most data projects is spent sourcing and munging data before the exploration and analysis can begin. Governance is often presented as the solution to all data woes but all too often generates more meetings than results.

The University of Melbourne is home to 8000 staff and 48000 students across seven campuses. Both researchers and professional staff recognise that data is going to be key to understanding this complex community and supporting its members. Sensor data collected from around the campuses promises the opportunity to analyse everything from demands on public transport to the impact of weather on coffee consumption. With researchers spread across ten faculties, there is a danger that multiple projects will collect fragmented data and the real power that comes from joining multiple datasets will never be realised. Conversely, overly prescriptive policies will date quickly and hamper innovation. Is it possible to satisfy both the desire to move rapidly to take advantage of new opportunities and the need to maintain data quality?

This case study will present some of the IoT projects currently being explored at the University and examine the governance efforts that are being trialled to ensure the adoption of standards and future interoperability of devices and data.

Fiona Tweedie

Data Strategy Advisor

University of Melbourne


Fiona Tweedie has broad experience in all things data. She first came to appreciate the power of data working as a policy advisor at the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. Since then she has worked in various data-related roles, including teaching data analysis and management to researchers at the University of Melbourne and working as a data scientist at The Australian Ballet. In 2018 she joined the University of Melbourne's Digital and Data team as a data strategy advisor. Her interests include digital liberties, knitting and the fall of the Roman Republic.