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IT & SOCIETY: ADVANCEMENTS FOR THE GREATER GOOD

The pervasive nature of Information Technology (IT) comes with both great opportunity and great responsibility. EMC recognizes that utilizing the positive potential of IT is critical to long-term environmental, societal and economic prosperity. The IT megatrends of cloud, social and mobile bring technology to an ever expanding number of people from all corners of our planet. With this growth comes unprecedented opportunity to leverage the power of data through the use of Big Data analytics and other emerging technologies. EMC is proud to work on projects like those highlighted below, that utilize our technology for the greater good.

We recognize that not all aspects of IT are inherently positive. As seen throughout our Sustainability Report, we are working diligently to mitigate environmental and social impacts throughout the value chain. We also realize that an increasingly interconnected world can result in the creation of societal issues never before encountered. We understand that IT is only a tool, and that it is our responsibility to encourage its use in ways that protect and promote well-being.

Enabling Partners HealthCare to solve healthcare’s toughest challenges using Big Data
In 2015, Partners HealthCare and EMC announced collaborative efforts to improve the delivery of healthcare and the lives of patients by developing an agile data and analytics platform: the Partners Data Lake.  The objective of the Partners Data Lake is to speed clinically relevant research developed within the Academic Medical Centers (AMCs) of Partners HealthCare into the clinical setting while informing medical science. Leveraging the advanced medical diagnostic capabilities throughout the Partners HealthCare system, large amounts of data generated through separate research activities will now be brought together within the Partners Data Lake to develop new insights into human disease in order to improve diagnostics, treatment and the lives of patients.
 
One of the core tenants of the Partners Data Lake is the Research Computing Big Data Commons. The Big Data Commons, built on EMC technology, can be described as a virtual gathering together of information and people. “The basic idea is to bring disparate data sources together and put them on a common platform so they can be shared among researchers,” said Brent Richter, associate director, Enterprise Research Infrastructure & Services (ERIS). The Big Data Commons has two benefits. First, it encourages collaboration. “Bringing these data sources together, putting them on a common platform and facilitating data sharing enables researchers to gain deeper insights,” said Richter. Even more important, however, is the overall goal of improving care. “The purpose of this platform is not strictly for research,” said Richter. “It’s really to lessen the amount of time required to get research results into clinical practice and to offer precision medicine, based on as much information as is available, so clinicians can provide the most precise diagnosis and treatment.”

Creating advanced analytics capabilities with IDEA Public Schools
EMC Professional Services has been delivering industry leading solutions using Big Data over the course of the past several years. The IDEA Public Schools “Actionable Dashboards” project is one such example of how vision, strategy and passion can drive innovation forward in the K-12 education space. IDEA Public Schools is a fast growing network of tuition-free, K-12 public charter schools serving more than 20,000 students from low-income families in 36 schools in the Rio Grande Valley, Austin, and San Antonio, Texas. For seven years, this nonprofit school district has succeeded in sending 100 percent of its graduates to college.

EMC Professional Services’ collaboration with the IDEA Public Schools began with a Big Data Vision workshop. EMC Professional Services conducted interviews across the school system to understand the diverse needs and points of view of principals, teachers and administrative staff. Several potential use cases were identified including:

  • Improving student grouping and interventions effectiveness
  • Monitoring student performance and delivering student recommendations
  • Improving teacher effectiveness and delivering teacher recommendations
  • Improving student assessments effectiveness

Within weeks of the workshop, EMC deployed a proof of value lab for a targeted subset of these business use cases. The proof of value lab proved that the analytics were possible, viable and something that could be executed and expanded to a much larger scale. The success of the proof of value lab led to a larger implementation of seven additional dashboard tools. These tools help teachers and administrators to better forecast student performance, assess risk and provide recommendations. The IDEA Public Schools Student Actionable Dashboards have been running in production since November 2015.

Studying the ecological impacts of climate change using Big Data
In 2015, EMC built on its partnership with Earthwatch Institute, the National Park Service and the Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park in the U.S. State of Maine. The goal of the Big Data vs. Climate Change project is to enhance the power of data being collected to provide increased analytics and present interactive visualizations of information in forms more accessible to citizens, educators and scientists worldwide.

The program began with a team of EMC employees working with researchers studying bird migration in Acadia National Park. The team set out to determine if bringing together publicly available data sets on birds, the timing of fruiting and flowering, and climate could provide new insights into the effects of climate change on bird migration. As a proof of concept, the team used citizen science data sets from eBird, iNaturalist, HawkWatch, the National Phenology Network and the National Park Service to launch the webpage Whenology. This site introduces the scientific concepts needed to understand phenological relationships, and allows users to explore data sets through interactive visualizations and storytelling.

Looking ahead, the program plans to include additional data sets from Earthwatch's global research partners and additional National Park research sites, and create a collaborative space for researchers to build on each other’s analyses and research.

  • Additional Information

Developing specific technology solutions for Healthcare enablement in India
The Center for Transformational Innovations (CeTI) in EMC’s India Center of Excellence is building innovative solutions based on technologies from the EMC federation to address nation-scale healthcare challenges in emerging markets.  CeTI’s intent is to help transform the primary healthcare delivery system and assist countries in their journey towards universal health coverage. Healthcare today is primed for technological disruptions. At CeTI, the goal is to align closely with EMC’s strategy to offer best of breed cloud solutions and take them to healthcare in emerging countries.
EMC LifeCare is the first solution developed by CeTI. EMC LifeCare is a mobile, cloud and data analytics solution to improve the government’s service delivery in primary health facilities. It connects citizens, health workers, doctors and decision-makers on a single, integrated platform. The solution includes a unique health record for every participating citizen, mobile applications for health workers, a web portal for doctors at health centers, and dashboards for health officials at higher levels of the government. LifeCare portals and mobile applications offer an intuitive user interface that simplifies the monitoring, alerting and analyzing of health data. This solution, designed to be modular and scalable, helps reduce costs, improve overall efficiency and address critical gaps in the healthcare ecosystem.  LifeCare’s cloud-enabled delivery framework is powered by storage, virtualization and advanced analytics technologies from the EMC federation.

LifeCare has been running as a pilot since 2013. In November 2015, the first large-scale deployment was rolled out in a district of 4.2 million citizens, in collaboration with the State Government of Andhra Pradesh.
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