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Defence body looks for messy data platform



Centre for Defence Enterprise launches competition for open source analytics prototypes

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is dipping its toe into the waters of unstructured data with a competition for the development of prototypes for an open source analytics platform.

The competition is being run by the Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE), a small team based at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, on behalf of the MoD’s Information Systems and Services (ISS) organisation.

It is aimed at creating a new analytics platform which can use internal structured and unstructured data for the defence sector. This should help the MoD acquire a better understanding of its internal information, documents and interactions in order to streamline its processes.

Mike Stone, MOD’s Chief Digital and Information Officer, said: “Traditionally MoD has been cautious of adopting emerging and unproved technologies. However, we need to adopt these freely available capabilities and services now.

“I hope this CDE competition will encourage industry, and particularly small and medium-sized enterprises that are delivering analytics and digital enablers, to help us develop a capability that will become an important part of defence transformation.”

Unstructured data comprises types that cannot be fitted neatly into datasets, and is often text-heavy even though it can include images, videos and web pages. It can provide valuable insights into an organisation’s activities – or into the wider world when taking in data from external sources – but it poses a stiff challenge when used in analytics.

The first phase of the competition will be backed by £250,000 funding. The successful proposals will go to a second phase that will receive up to £2 million on a per-project basis.

The competition closes on 13 August.

Image from under Open Government Licence 3.0

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