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The Importance of Collaboration in Technology


The Importance of Collaboration in Technology

Unlike the scientific advances of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the technological developments of the 21st are increasingly exercises in broad-church collaboration. With increasing complexity of solutions comes an increasing need for diversification of skills and speciality. The advancement of technology is perhaps better seen as the product of the overall functioning of the technology and research and development sectors as a whole. The delivery of these technological advances to industry and society relies on collaboration with the services industry also, without whom the necessary cultural change would not occur resulting in a lack of adoption. Nowadays, few successful tech or R&D projects succeed without substantial collaborations and partnerships. Horizontal scale, achieved through healthy partner ecosystems, is critical for success.

Comparison to Ecological Systems

A healthy model for technological advancement through collaborative structures and the commercial benefits derived from them perhaps most analogous to a well-functioning ecosystem. Ecological systems are comprised of many actors, occupying different niche spaces in a constant state of dynamic equilibrium. Some compete (which is healthy) whilst others collaborate mutualistically or symbiotically. There are both generalists and specialists, each without whom the system would converge towards a less productive and more unstable state.

Ecological actors in these systems can be grouped both taxonomically or functionally, that is to say by both what they are and what they do. Their positioning in niche space is described by the position they occupy along n number of functional axes, and the degree of competition and collaboration they experience depends on their degree of overlap and direct and indirect effects they have on their neighbour in this space. Together they act to produce ecosystem functional outputs that are valuable; in natural systems this might be carbon lockdown, in technology this might be innovative solutions to high value problems.

Proven Success of Broad-Church Collaboration

One example of where The Data Analysis Bureau has been collaborating heavily in this way is our flagship (no pun intended) R&D project, developing and deploying deep learning into control systems for round the world sailing yachts. The aim is to deploy an artificially intelligent autopilot to the boat to increase safety, improve performance, and allow the skipper to sleep more and allocate more time to higher level tasks such as strategy and navigation.

Our efforts have focused on developing solutions that will either mimic a sailor (i.e. a digital twin), or learn and develop its own strategy. This is a highly complex project, requiring collaboration across industry and academia, notably between The Data Analysis Bureau, Jack Trigger Racing, Imperial College London, WisConT, and NKE Systems. Between us we cover IoT sensor and hardware automation, professional sailing, machine learning specialists, and a world class academic institution. So successful has this collaboration been that it has been selected to be presented at the IoT Solutions World Congress in Barcelona – it’s not too late to get tickets.

Growing and Cultivating our Collaboration with Digital Agency Partners

Following this philosophy of collaboration, The Data Analysis Bureau is actively growing it’s collaboration with other partners across industries. In order to successfully deliver truly innovative projects, it is vital for us to understand where our competencies start and end and recognise our degree of specialism. Understanding this, we are then able to engage with partners to build strong collaborations, built upon our mutually beneficial strengths, and find new partners where we can benefit from their skills. It is within this optic that we have enthusiastically engaged with the rich ecosystem of digital agencies through our strategic cloud partner, Wirehive. Wirehive provide the scale and capacity to build enterprise level architectures while digital agencies bring their deep understanding of brand and client requirements, creativity, as well as an existing technical competency trusted by their clients.

At The Data Analysis Bureau, we recognise that we are the new kids on the block, but we bring a specialist expertise in developing machine learning for artificial intelligence solutions to add value to our partners. Working together, we can develop and deliver truly cutting-edge solutions that deliver real value to our customers.

Proud to Support the Wirehive 100 Best Data Driven Project Award

The Data Analysis Bureau is proud to be sponsoring the Wirehive 100 Award for Best Data Driven Category. We are excited to see the range of projects that our digital agency partners and the industry more widely has been working on. We are looking forward to this great opportunity to celebrate those successes and make more friends within the industry – get in touch! 

About the Author

Dr Eric Topham is the data science and co-founder at The Data Analysis Bureau, a data science and data engineering agency specialising in machine learning services. The Data Analysis Bureau are Wirehive’s strategic data science and machine learning partner and sponsor of the ‘Best Data Driven Campaign’ Category at the Wirehive100s.