Rural Innovation Centre Highlight

Danny Silver from the Atlantic Institute of Data Analytics

“There are a lot of exciting things going on here and it’s great to be a part of that.”

Tell me a little about your business and what role you play in its operations.

I’m the Director for the Institute and we actually have four different pillars of activity. First is promotion and explaining what the heck data analytics is, which has become less of a factor in the last year, as we’ve done a lot of that. More people understand big data and big data analytics.

Second is education in terms of seminars, workshops, and tutorials offered to the community. An institute in a university is meant to be a connector between researchers, people in businesses who are applying the technology, government funders, and companies who could potentially make use of data analytics.

Third would be the work in terms of research. The institute is not a research center, but its job is to find problems and match them with people who have domain expertise, as well as mathematicians and computer scientists who work in the analytics space.

And lastly is application and commercialization. A big reason we are in the Rural Innovation Center is to connect the research with the development, find interesting practical applications, and develop companies, whether that be existing companies or a brand new entrepreneurial undertaking by a student.

What is your favorite part about the Rural Innovation Centre?

Being surrounded by bright, young students who are energetic about entrepreneurship and starting new companies for the betterment of the community or for profit. There are a lot of exciting things going on here and it’s great to be a part of that.

What piece of advice would you give to students who are looking to get into entrepreneurship?

I think the biggest one is to get over the fear of failure. It’s not how you fell it’s how you get back up again. Just like the new lean models of business, it certainly can be brought back to the person. You’re constantly pivoting and learning more about yourself and how you do things, your strengths and your weaknesses, and eventually you get past beating yourself up too much. If you’ve really tried hard and well, you’ll learn from that and eventually succeed.

What’s an interesting fact about your business or something cool you are working on?

One project is in the area of Building Energy Management. Being able to take the predictive weather forecast as well as knowledge of what side of the building the sun is going to be on at different points of the day to proactively control energy use in buildings. Buildings are the number one users of energy, so being able to predict this would have a tremendous impact.