Monday, January 23, 2012

MassTLC Report Predicts Massachusetts to Become World Leader for "Big Data"

Download the Report -- Big Data and Analytics: A Major Opportunity for Massachusetts

As reported in today's Boston Globe, MassTLC has identified Big Data and Analytics as a major opportunity for Massachusetts, possibly on the scale of the 1990's software industry growth or the later telecom and Internet boom. The Council has identified more than 100 firms and 70,000 people employed in the field, and estimates the sector could grow by another 50,000 jobs in Massachusetts by 2018.

Massachusetts has become a major hub for companies that create and use "big data" and analytics technologies, a burgeoning technology sector that is expected to continue its explosive growth over the rest of the decade. In fact, the growing emergence of Massachusetts "big data" companies combined with deep university expertise in database management technology, and the presence of both established and startup technology firms give the state the opportunity to become the global economic hub for big data and analytics by the end of the decade.

According to the report, the proliferation of data generated by humans (e.g., text, voice, video) and machines (e.g., GPS, RFID, medical sensors), combined with social and other unstructured communications (e.g., social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn) is creating vast data opportunities, and a wave of new companies, to analyze and extract greater insight and economic value from this deluge of information.

"The Big Data sector is flying largely under the radar right now but this report makes it clear that it could our state's next big tech sector," said Tom Hopcroft, President & CEO of MassTLC. "If investments in this area continue at their current rate, we could see job gains approaching the scale of the early 1990's software industry growth or the later telecom and Internet boom."

According to the report, Massachusetts has all the elements necessary for success: a history of expertise in fields related to Big Data (including storage, security, and traditional data analytics); proven giants such as IBM, Oracle and Google already making Massachusetts investments in this field through acquisitions of companies such as Netezza, Endeca and ITA Software; a venture capital community with strong data analytics expertise; a vibrant academic research community, and a wealth of start-ups, such as Kyruus,, Paradigm4 and VoltDB, already gaining traction in the market.

"Massachusetts has 'Data DNA', a robust group of startups and established companies, as well as the presence of such complementary industries as healthcare, financial services, life sciences, consumer products, and on-line media" said Steve O'Leary, a co-founder of Aeris Partners and co-chairman of the MassTLC Research Committee. "We're in great position to lead, but we should be aware that other regions, most notably Silicon Valley, are moving quickly into this space."

The report identifies more than one hundred Massachusetts Big Data and analytics companies that currently employ some 12,000 workers. A variety of industries -- notably some of the state's biggest employers like healthcare, life sciences, aerospace & defense and financial services -- will increasingly utilize data analytics to grow their businesses. These Big Data users currently represent a complementary employment base of some 58,000 already using Big Data tools and results, for a total of 70,000 currently employed in Big Data jobs.

With its early start, the report estimates that Massachusetts is poised to see its big data workforce (including those creating analytics technology tools and applications within vendor companies as well as data scientists and data managers using analytics technology in healthcare, financial services, and other sectors) could grow to 120,000 jobs by 2018 -- if the region capitalizes on its early lead.

Download the Report -- Big Data and Analytics: A Major Opportunity for Massachusetts

Hard copies of the report will be made available at the Council’s 2nd Annual Big Data Summit on February 15 in Cambridge, MA (see for details). Read highlights from MassTLC's 2011 Big Data Summit by the Wall Street Journal.

The Summit will serve as the kick-off of MassTLC's Big Data Cluster.

MassTLC Launches Big Data and Analytics Cluster

In the year since our first Big Data Summit (Read WSJ highlights), MassTLC has been quietly cultivating a new Cluster, focused on the Big Data and Analytics companies in Massachusetts, and are pleased to mark 2012 as the year for Big Data with our recent research report on the sector, Big Data and Analytics: A Major Market Opportunity for Massachusetts, our Second Annual Big Data Summit: The Big Data Disruption, and the launch of a new Big Data Cluster community.

In the context of MassTLC's 2020 Jobs Growth Challenge, Big Data is a significant opportunity for Massachusetts. Massachusetts leads the nation (#6, I believe) in recovering from the recession, based primarily on the information technology and other information technology intensive knowledge sectors. According to a recent McKinsey report, Big Data could be transformative, amounting to a fifth wave in the technology revolution after the mainframe, the PC, the Internet/Web 1.0, and the mobile/Web 2.0 eras.

MassTLC believes that the Commonwealth has significant and unique advantages and an opportunity to be the geographical hub of a massive Big Data and Analytics wave of innovation, company formation, job creation, and economic benefit for the region. We feel it's ours to lose and so are, as a community, going to do everything we can to foster the success of big data companies in Massachusetts, thereby cultivating our economic future.

Towards this end, MassTLC's Big Data Cluster seeks to be an active catalyst for growth and development of the Big Data and Analytics ecosystem in Massachusetts. The Council's unique role as an organization that spans the entire technology ecosystem places MassTLC at the heart of the Big Data tsunami. Below are some of the initiatives MassTLC is undertaking to foster the growth of this important sector:

Research - In addition to it's recent report, MassTLC will continue to study the region's Big Data and Analytics community through surveys, focus groups, and an Oracle-Delphi panel of leading thinkers to inform the community about the sector and leverage points for growth.

Summit - The MassTLC 2nd Annual Big Data Summit and other programming provides an opportunity for thought leaders to share ideas while the general community learns about opportunities presented by the Big Data and Analytics tsunami.

Community - MassTLC is convening a community of Big Data thought leaders to continue the dialogue through a variety of member-only and public Cluster meetings, events, and initiatives. MassTLC Clusters enable the technology community to take a deep dive in a particular area, share knowledge, and build deep lasting relationships that lead to business growth.

Bump - MassTLC will integrate Big Data and Analytics across our many Cluster communities and key Council initiatives, thereby fostering knowledge exchange with other technology and customer segments. At MassTLC, we believe that innovation happens at the boundaries between communities where ideas often meet with novel applications. Our Clusters, Tech Tuesday, and our Innovation unConference are just a few of the Council's signature initiatives that support bump factor.

Recognition - MassTLC will encouraging Big Data and Analytics companies to participate in the Mass Technology Leadership Awards program to help shine a spotlight on the region's Data DNA.

Workforce - Though the MassTLC Education Foundation, we work to attract, retain, and develop the talent needed to grow Big Data and Analytics in Massachusetts.

Leadership - MassTLC will work to educate and advocate for policies that support the growth of big data and analytics technology development and application in Massachusetts.

Council members interested in getting involved in the Big Data Cluster should contact Sara Fraim at Non-members should contact to learn more.

Friday, January 13, 2012

MBTA, Hubway, and Food Trucks Are Focus of Web and Mobile App Contest

The Commonwealth has teamed with the City of Boston on a contest called the MBTA + Boston Bikes Developers Challenge to develop Web and mobile software applications that provide innovative ways to access MBTA and New Balance Hubway information in real-time. The contest supports MassTLC's 2020 jobs growth challenge by connecting public needs with local technology talent.

The six week contest is geared towards the connections between the MBTA, Hubway bicycle rental stations, and the city's many food trucks. There are three areas of competition:

- Food Trucks - Web and mobile app developers are invited to create innovative applications that help residents get information on and locate Boston's Food Trucks. This app would ideally include menus, locations, and directions for getting to the truck via foot, bike, or MBTA.

- MBTA & Hubway Info Access - Web and mobile app developers are invited to create applications using the MBTA's real-time bus, subway, and commuter rail schedule information, and Hubway's Live Station Inventory Data.

- MBTA & Hubway Visualization - Web and mobile app developers are invited to create visualization-based apps using historical vehicle location data from the MBTA and Hubway bicycle rental stations.

Winners of the contests, which runs through February 24th, will receive prizes including a free one-year Charlie Pass for the MBTA, Hubway membership, and/or Food Truck passes.

MassTLC supports public contests and other initiatives that help connect the government as a potential "first customer" to the 400+ mobile, 100+ big data/analytics, and other technology companies in the Commonwealth. This crowd sourced approach achieves the dual purposes of tapping the best technology talent to help deliver public services while creating that essential bridge that could help local entrepreneurs and start-ups access a new market.

More info on the MBTA + Boston Bikes Developers Challenge. See additional ideas on the Mayor's New Urban Mechanics website.

The Massachusetts Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs also recently launched a mobile app development contest, dubbed the Get Outdoors Massachusetts Mobile Apps Contest.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

State Sponsored Mobile App Contest Supports Goals of Council's 2020 Job Growth Challenge

The Massachusetts Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) announced an innovative approach to meeting some of the Commonwealth's technology needs -- they are crowd sourcing their project by way of a mobile app contest. The contest supports a key element in MassTLC's 2020 jobs growth challenge.

A couple years ago, MassTLC put out a challenge to the tech sector to create 100,000 new technology jobs by the end of the decade. Since then, MassTLC's board and special task force on job creation has developed a framework of action organized around people, capital, and infrastructure. The task force's recommendations will be communicated to the Administration in early 2012.

One of the task force recommendations is for the Commonwealth to consider the role of the "Government as First Customer." It posits that there is a significant opportunity to connect local entrepreneurs/start-ups with state agencies in need of innovative technology solutions to critical state needs. The entrepreneur/start-up benefits with a first referenceable client, the state agency benefits by accelerating development of solutions to critical needs, and together we accelerate our local job growth engine by buying local.

As an example of how 'Government as First Customer' could work, EEA Secretary Richard Sullivan announced a contest that invites designers and mobile application developers to create applications to help the public find outdoor recreation hot spots in Massachusetts. Dubbed the "Get Outdoors Massachusetts Mobile Apps Contest," the competition is open to the public and seeks participation from application developers to create a mobile app that features Massachusetts outdoor and natural resources.

EEA's Departments of Agricultural Resources (DAR), Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and Fish and Game (DFG) have published geospatial data for developers to create a mobile app designed to map public lands, state parks, farms, public water and land access points, rinks, pools, and other outdoor venues for outdoor recreation.

MassTLC is a proud supporter of this innovative crowd sourcing initiative. "Start-ups are the jobs growth engine for our economy and a 'first customer' is often the difference between success and failure," said MassTLC CEO Tom Hopcroft. "With over 400 mobile and 100 big data/analytics companies and new entrants every day, EEA's crowd sourced approach achieves the dual purposes of tapping the best technology talent to help deliver EEA services and creating that essential bridge that could help local entrepreneurs access a new market." Several MassTLC Mobile Cluster advisory board members are serving on the judging panel that will select the winner.

The submission deadline is March 30, and registration is free. Entrants will compete for prizes including the opportunity to showcase their work to local technology executives. EEA will announce the winners on April 18.

View the official Get Outdoors Massachusetts Mobile Apps contest rules and information.

See also the recently announced MBTA, Hubway, and Food Trucks Web and Mobile App Contest.