On the 46th floor of Taipei 101, a modern salon on the theme of "Big Data” was held in the evening of 24 April 2015. Speaking in this intellectual and elegant salon was an expert in this new field, Dr. Wei Jun Lin, Director of the Big Data Department in the Institute of Information Industry, and Chair Professor of the School of Big Data Management, Soochow University. Behind the talk was the expectation that the underlying power of big data would help open up a whole new path for Taiwan in this era of economic transition.
Bloomberg Businessweek X Soochow University
Co-sponsored by Bloomberg Businessweek and Soochow University, the salon saw the attendance of many dignitaries, including President Wei-Ta Pan of Soochow University, and Dean of the Office of Social Resource, Ming-I Ku. President Pan recounted the idea of big data as dating far back as the birth of computers, but the new concept is to make use of the massive information on specific purpose, especially in the field of business where Director Lin is at the helm. How much Soochow University places importance in this field can be seen from the huge gathering of Soochow academics, including Dean of Business School, Chien Lung Zhan, Director of the School of Big Data Management, Chin Hsiung Hsu, Chairman Zu Tan Fu of the Economics Department, Deputy Chairman Chi Cheng Wu of the Department of Business Administration, Professor Cheng Jiang from the Department of International Business.
Commercial Mode Created by Big Data
What is Big Data exactly? How to apply it? The speaker took an example from Zara, the fashion brand from Spain that uses cameras in physical stores to track what kinds of clothes and colors customers like most. In addition to that, they also collect the number of hits, discussions among customers, and sales record from the Internet. The analysis system of big data can then reorganize and integrate the information to figure out the most favored styles desired by customers and even foresee future trend in fashion industry. The big data system enables Zara to release new styles every two weeks and sell out right before they are out of fashion. With Big Data system, Zara has become the most creative and disruptive retailer.
Finding Big Value from Big Data
Dr. Lin predicted that if Big Data is used to integrate all medium and small-sized enterprises in Taiwan, the overall value will be as large as that of three Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation, benefitting not only a few senior executives or a corporation but all enterprises. That is what Dr. Lin has been promoting in Taiwan. She said in Taiwan we always spent large amount of money in hardware, but cheap subcontract works won’t sustain long term competition against China. Our industries must be transformed into that of software and services based in order to create values and benefits.
Challenges after the First Step
Applications of big data have been in operation abroad for a long time, and Taiwan is just getting started. There are many challenges ahead, including training of technical personnel, integrations of systems in corporations, and collection and organization of big data. They are all the challenges for Taiwan to overcome. Dr. Lin, however, is still optimistic about future development. She said that although we started slow, we are indeed proceeding in the right direction. She believes that this technique can help enterprises optimize performance and innovate services, and will help build a whole new and potential road for Taiwan’s economic development.
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