Courtesy of The Daily Texan
Universities may use voice recognition technology similar toApple's Siri to analyze data collected
about students, faculty and staff.
John Rome, deputy chief information officer at Arizona State
University, spoke Monday to a crowd of about 40 business
intelligence professionals from colleges and universities around
the world. Business intelligence, also known as BI, is
the use of data systems to improve decision making.
Rome's talk about voice recognition technology was part of the
Higher Education Data Warehousing Conference hosted by UT April
Rome said the convenience and accuracy of technologies like Siri
prove that universities will inevitably apply voice recognition
tools to business-oriented tasks.
"The future, sooner rather than later, is that we will use
something like Siri on top of BI," he said. "There will come a day
when we can use phones for data analytics."
Rome said universities use data analytics to more effectively
recruit students, identify struggling students and differentiate
between good and bad teaching techniques.
As content and businesses become more geared toward smartphones
and tablets, so too will data analysis tools, Rome said.
"By 2013, 33 percent of BI will be consumed on mobile devices
and 80 percent of businesses will support tablets," he said. "By
2014, there will be more mobile devices than laptops or
IT professional Carrie Shumaker of the University of Michigan,
one of UT's peer institutions, said students demand more
data-driven applications from her university.
"Students want to develop apps and to access data to build their
apps around," Shumaker said. "We will develop the app if it's
worthwhile, but if it's something our university puts out, it needs
to follow our standards."
Jeff Stark, a data warehouse manager for Rensselaer Polytechnic
Institute and an organizer of the conference, said the field of
data analytics is trying to find a balance between usability and
"Many of our tools are too robust for mobile apps because they
were developed for researchers and statisticians," Stark said.
Among universities, UT is at the forefront of developing data
analysis tools and making those tools more accessible, said Vijay
Thiruvengadam, the director and data architect of the University's
Information Quest project.
"Our mantra is 'Crawl, walk, run," he said. "We take an
incremental approach and do smaller things first."
In the opinion of other universities, UT is more than running -
it is flying, Thiruvengadam said. But only high-level faculty and
staff currently have access to UT's business intelligence tools,
and the Information Quest project has a lot more
scaling up to do, he said.
"[Information Quest] has 1,800 users who can look at financial,
student and faculty data," Thiruvengadam said.
"People want us to be at the fly stage, but we're at the walk