Welcome to Data Week

It’s “data week” on The Engineer – which means that over the next few days (29thApril – 3rd May) we’ll be taking a look at what our increasingly data rich world actually means for engineering and manufacturing firms.

Never have there been so many different ways to collect, transmit and analyse data

Whether it’s driving advances in healthcare; providing the backbone for more efficient and streamlined manufacturing operations; or enabling vehicles to operate without drivers; data – and our rapidly evolving ability to interact with it - is at the heart of the technological change that is reshaping our world.

Advances in data are reshaping the world

Over the course of this week, we will be looking at some of technologies that are driving this change; hearing from sectors and organisations at the forefront of the data revolution and examining what a smart approach to data actually looks like in practical terms.

As well as the hardware and technology we will examine for instance the way in which Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing data analytics; the potential of Blockchain to change the way the data is stored and shared, and the expected impact of 5G promises on data management and transfer speeds.

Of course, along with the advantages there’s a flip-side to the data-rich world: a growing concern over the degree to which critical information can be stolen and key systems can be hacked into - as the current row over the UK government’s decision to allow Chinese manufacturer Huawei access to the UK’s 5G network reminds us.

During this week, we’ll examine some of the measures that organisations are taking to ensure that they can keep their data safe.

Clearly, for many firms, getting to grips with all of these technologies, challenges and opportunities requires a whole new set skills, and the rapid pace of technological change can be bewildering for firms wondering where to invest their recruitment efforts.

As we report though, whilst this sometimes means developing new areas of in-house expertise, more often than not it’s about findings way of tapping into the expertise that’s already out there, and collaborating with new partners.

Talking of collaboration, our partner for this week’s coverage is one of the UK’s largest engineering firms, Babcock International Group. Over the course of this week we'll be hearing how Babcock, which has a presence across a range of sectors, puts a smart approach to data and analytics at the heart of its work.