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Rolls-Royce alliance focuses on Coronavirus economic recovery

The Rolls-Royce industry alliance aims to bring together data teams across industries and academia to help governments and businesses get back to work

Rolls-Royce has established an industry alliance called Emer2gent to bring together data analytics experts to work on how to tackle the economic impact of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

As Computer Weekly has previously reported, policy makers have asked data and analytics experts to get involved in helping to tackle the coronavirus pandemic

Roll Royce said the alliance aims to combine traditional economic, business, travel and retail data sets with behaviour and sentiment data to support the global recovery from the pandemic.

The alliance’s goal is to provide insights to shorten/limit the recessionary impacts from the pandemic. To achieve this, the alliance aims to identify lead indicators of economic recovery cycles that can be used to help  get people and businesses back to work as soon as possible.

“People, businesses and governments around the world have changed the way they spend, move, communicate and travel because of Covid-19, and we can use that insight – along with other data – to provide the basis for identifying what new insights and trends may emerge that signify the world’s adjustment to a new normal after the pandemic,”said Caroline Gorski, global director for R2 Data Labs, which is the Rolls-Royce data innovation catalyst for the alliance.

Since its launch in 2017, R2 Data Labs has used advanced data analytics, industrial artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning techniques to develop data applications to help unlock design, manufacturing and operational efficiencies within Rolls-Royce, and create new service propositions for customers.

Through the alliance, this expertise, combined with the data experts from other organisations, will be used to tackle the economic downturn that will arise due to the coronavirus global lockdown.

Gorski said: “We want the world economy to get better as soon as possible so people can get back to work. Our data innovation community can help do this and is at its best when it comes together for the common good.”

The Leeds Institute for Data Analytics (Lida) at the University of Leeds is one of the organisations participating in the initiative. Mark Birkin, a professor at Lida, said: “The Covid-19 crisis has demonstrated the need for governments and their advisers to seek real-world insights into mobility, behaviour and human contact networks. 

“At Lida, we believe that there are mutual benefits from access to transactional data for scientific research, business and commerce, so will be working as part of the alliance to facilitate the secure sharing of data and to connect Emer2gent partners with expertise within the academic community.”

At the time of writing, IBM and Google, among others, have announced that they are joining the alliance.

Rajh Das, manufacturing and industrial lead of the UK and Ireland at Google Cloud, said: “Google Cloud is proud to be involved in such an important project as we all work together to support business globally during these extraordinary times.”

Andrew Brown, general manager of IBM Cloud and Cognitive Software Europe, said he hopes IBM’s contribution will help to accomplish the identification of proven use cases.

Felix Marx, CEO at Truata, a company specialising in anonymised data analytics tools, said: “We are living in unprecedented times. And, at this moment of great uncertainty, we must recognise that we all play a role in addressing the global challenge as quickly and efficiently – but also as responsibly – as possible.”

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