Splunk is one of Geeks Without Bounds’ fiscal sponsors (the other being Tropo. <3 ). Today we interviewed the brand new program director for Splunk4Good, Splunk’s social good and corporate accountability program. They focus on public data projects that benefit society and enable both organizations and individuals to make good, data-driven decisions.
What’s Splunk4Good been up to recently
We’ve been finishing up a project called OpenXC with Ford. It’s a vehicle diagnostic tool that aggregates across all vehicles with anonymized users. We splunked the automotive data in real time to gain insight into driving patterns – and it wasn’t just standard stuff, either. We measured pedal movements, drift metrics, etc. This is a major launching off point with Ford to do more and better open data platforms for engine performance, efficiency, and infrastructure needs awareness. It has interesting applications for public service uses, such as traffic signal timing, traffic management, and proactive resource allotment for road maintenance. There are tons of interesting prospects and the data to make them happen available, but it’s all untapped. We’re in the process of figuring out the right way to engage on these kinds of projects – how to stitch those things together into an optimization scheme that benefits the public. Other than that, we’ve been finishing up a ton of stuff in our current pipeline – see our live projects page for more of our public data projects.
What’s Splunk up to in the near future?
We’re going to be working with the Open Data event with the White House this November. It will be a series of public project partnerships, and we’re fleshing out the focuses now. We’d like to utilize the wealth of information in the open data feed that exists on all the public government portals in the form of legislation commentary. This portal is the forum in which most if not all governmental organizations use to collect public commentary on new legislation. 70,000 comments were captured in the span of a couple months, which shows the magnitude of the current challenge. It arrives in many forms, as both paper and data. We’re working on a tool to rate comments in terms of on a scale that indicates levels of agreement. Comments are rated from 1-5 in terms of negative/positive for the proposed legislation. We’ll also be clustering those responses, measuring the influencers, and researching who is driving the traffic to the sites. There have been no means for these organizations to digest their current channels of communication until now. This has major implications at all levels of governance to interact with the public, and carries a great deal of promise for civic engagement.
We’re also looking delve into the new healthcare law costs in different geographies, focusing on how access changes, improves, and meets current challenges in the healthcare field.
What’s your background like?
I’ve been in and around the public sector for the past 15 years. My background includes lots of private and public consulting, so I know the system inside and out. My time working for Daley was a better education than all of my formal education. Daley had finally reached a point in his tenure where he realized that he needed to do some reform for legacy purposes, and I was able to be a part of that process.
How you’d like to interact with GWOB and our community in the future?
The biggest thing for Splunk4Good is visibility and attracting partners to do these public data projects. We need people to know we’re available to do social good. We’d love to hear potential ideas in the realm of partnerships, projects, or candidates for a NFP licensing program. We’re also looking for potential opportunities for education work, especially opportunities to get involved with STEM outreach with expansion to other fields of education at a later date. We’ve also been trying to push for improved percentages of women in STEM fields, and are working to bring more women to Splunk as a whole. Volunteers who want to be involved can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.