Moderator: Alan Shark, Executive Director of PTI (Public Technology Institute); Associate Professor of Practice, Rutgers University, School of Public Affairs & Administration, USA.

Clément Allain – R&D Project Manager Institut de l’Elevage, France

François Blanc – Director Digital Evolution ERDF – Electricité & Réseau de France, France

Mariane Cimino – Consultant, France Génétique Elevage, France

Sami Coll – Research Fellow UNIGE- University of Geneva, Switzerland

Stéphane Grumbach – Senior Scientist, INRIA, France

Jens-Henrik Jeppesen – Director European Affairs, CDT – Center for Democracy and Technology, Belgium

Jean-Henry Morin – Associate Professor of Information Systems, UNIGE – University of Geneva, Switzerland

Hervé Rannou – CEO Items International, CEO Cityzen-Data, France

Gerald Santucci – Head of Unit Knowledge Sharing, DG CONNECT, European Commission

Alan Shark introduced this interesting topic by stating that people create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day and this trend is going to increase in the next years. How can we explain this trend? As a matter of fact, the number of users is increasing, as well as the number of interconnected machines, and this tendency allows moving from data to wisdom.

The first presenter, Clement Allain, introduced to the audience the functioning of the dairy farming using modern technologies. He began his presentation by specifying the characteristics of the dairy farming and segued to production of dairy and breeding that can be significantly improved by use of combined censors. These censors allow collecting data on the biological parameters of animals, and then this data is transformed into information and alerts for farmers. Finally, farmers can “control” these censors based on the system of alerts in a closed feedback loop.

Mr. Allain then explained why we needed this kind of technology in the agricultural industry. First of all, there are currently fewer farmers than the total number of animals all over the world. Furthermore, farmers are facing more pressure because of the growing needs of the population worldwide. Finally, farmers can manage their production depending on the price or the value of the milk on the market.

The system that Mr. Allain initially described allows another great innovation regarding dairy production, and that is proper care for the overall welfare, and the well being of the animal. But in order to provide a balanced overview of the system, Mr. Allain also specified that the system faced certain limitations, such as lack of advice. If the farmer had to deal with a sick animal, he would receive an alert but not the answer or the solution to his problem which means that the system needs to be further improved and eventually provide advice to farmers.

Mariane Cimino discussed the increase in volume of data for and from animals in the past few years, and their collection and use. According to her, previously the data was collected for programs and public research purposes. Nowadays because of regulations and R&D improvement, the data is not that relevant anymore (there is no real regulation/governance for this industry yet), but the efficacy of big data is still there. Another issue is that we are able to collect data on animals but not on the rest of the value creation chain, such as for example, the products milk, meat etc. Moreover, today we are facing a serious lack of experts in this field.

Sami Coll, a sociologist with a strong interest in epistemology, discussed two important issues. According to him, the big data does not necessarily mean social inclusion, because every one of us is “confined” in their own social bubble. Second, the data proposed to us is only information concerning our social and cultural environment.

For Mr Coll the privacy is not the solution for the spread of big data; we can promote the big data and in the meanwhile become stricter on the privacy matters.

Through his intervention Stéphane Grumbach explained that the strongest impact of data allowed inter-mediation between people and things, people and people, things and things, and hense people and knowledge. For example, the car pulling system is possible today, because it is easy to define who uses it the same way as we do, and who is the guy that you are travelling with.

Finally, Jean-Henry Morin showed that the socialization of things would generate lots of data, and everything would be connected and interconnected. According to him, we will have a social network of things soon. Furthermore, he highlighted that the European data protection framework was almost here, and it would be the measure for tackling the disruption in the collection of data.

As we can see from the discussions, the challenges of tomorrow are many. First of all, the decision-makers and governments need to restore trust in our digital society, because we cannot go forward without confidence and trust. In addition to that, the decision-makers have to fight against “the hot potato effect”.  These last decades, every institution has been passing the responsibility of managing data to one another. The real issue is to know who is capable of what, and ready to manage our data in the future. A key to this might be to improve the education. Indeed, a better education can enable insights into and better understanding of data management.