The Ubiquiti Meeting, held in early May 2010, was different in two respects from our earlier events. First, there were several external speakers, and second, the theme was on managing and leveraging the deluge of data & information.
A major automotive Supplier representative spoke on using their vast corporate knowledge gathered within informational documentation – both technical (e.g., 8Ds or case studies etc.) and regulatory (e.g., OSHA or TREAD etc.). The aim was to use new computing technologies to make informed decisions consistent with their lessons learned, best practices and regulations. As was pointed out, the efforts spanned multiple administrative departments, geographical locations and levels within their organization. However, a description was provided on how customized concept-based Search enabled accessing the information rapidly and consistently. Furthermore, how generating documentation becomes easier was also discussed – since the authors need not have to conform to strict guidelines which are often put in place to enable easier subsequent access by others. And as such, different ways of describing the information, alternative organization of data and information, and ongoing changes – all can be supported by the simpler expedient of concept-based Search.
An automotive industry veteran in the areas of engineering, quality and warranty spoke on several high-profile cases, sometimes publicly discussed and aired, with which he was involved. It was interesting to understand how the situation is managed from inside an organization which may be “under fire” as a crisis unfolds. Often, it is a matter of managing the message that goes out, and deflecting unfair blame that gets placed – as opposed to having an opportunity to address the key problems. In fact, sometimes there really may not have been a real quality issue, but the public perception and conviction is one that becomes difficult to sway. The discussion also provided an insight into how areas such as warranty start affecting and get affected by essentially all parts and levels of a large organization – finance, legal, engineering, quality, PR etc.
A senior faculty member from the College of Engineering at Univ. Michigan, Ann Arbor, spoke on various research projects that are indirectly related to the automotive industry – such as in intelligent semi-automated vehicle control, military vehicle technologies, and robotics. The discussions that ensued touched upon legal & regulatory issues (eg, for vehicle control), industry-academia ties (eg, for military projects), and even issues concerning safety (eg, in robotics). The presentation provided a look at cutting-edge technologies that are currently being investigated, and may make their way into vehicles in the near future.
A senior member at another major automotive Supplier discussed how lessons learned via quality data analysis could/should make their way into product development. This is a very important topic, and in many ways, the real reason to analyze data such as arising from warranty and repairs. The processes needed, the hurdles to be overcome, and the different organizational aspects to be addressed were described. In fact, a tie-in was noted between these efforts and those related to using comprehensive organizational knowledge as discussed above in the context of concept-based Search.
The theme for our Meeting was on the large volumes of data and information now becoming available. While these may be regarded as “information overload”, the fact is that by the use of appropriate technologies, such organizational data may be leveraged and converted into a rich knowledge repository to guide future efforts. Ubiquiti presented its ideas on how such “collective knowledge” gathered from a vast number of individuals, over different periods of time, and from geographically dispersed areas, may be gathered and utilized effectively and easily. While our analytics form one aspect of such utilization, our newer technologies in Search, Diagnostics, and use of Machine Learning provide a powerful means to realize a practical, ever-enriching and adapting knowledge-base.
Please contact Ubiquiti for access to some of the materials described above, and we will contact the appropriate individuals.