The data nation: Why Israel is becoming a major hotspot for data science
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View to Jerusalem, Old city, Israel. Photo Credit: SJ Travel Photo and Video / Shutterstock

In a guest post, Joe Liebkind argues that Israel is becoming a ‘data nation.’

Tech.eu

Widely known as the “Startup Nation”, momentum in Israel’s tech ecosystem has been accelerating, in part due to the rise in use of data analytics to measure and predict behavior and to drive business decisions.

Data science is a booming industry in the tech ecosystem as a whole. With an increasing number of companies, both small and large, demanding more and more immediate information and data-based analyses to help drive business decisions and acquire new customers, the sheer influential power of big data cannot be disputed.

This is especially true given the volume of information that needs to be extracted, condensed, and properly analyzed in order to be effective in facilitating, if not triggering, business transformation.

Today’s demand for fast, actionable, data-driven business intelligence is, in many ways, the fulfillment of many expert predictions over the past few years. According to a 2011McKinsey Global Institute Report, large data sets or “Big data will become a key basis of competition, underpinning new waves of productivity growth, innovation, and consumer surplus”.

While big data may be a trending topic across many tech ecosystems, the ability to properly interpret such data in order to drive decision making is what defines its ability to impact business performance and to generate value for its adopters.

As Tech.eu journalist Jonathan Keane argued recently:

“It’s undeniable that the huge swathes of data being generated today contain valuable information. However, without the skills to make sense of the data and extract vital information, it isn’t of much use”.

But why Israel?

This precise skill-set involving data extraction and analysis-based capabilities, is what makes Israel stand out as a “Data Nation”. Such skills are apparent given the emergence of Israeli startups and enterprises that are largely focused on harnessing the power of data in order to help clients improve their levels of productivity, maximize operational efficiency, minimize customer pain points, address critical business vulnerabilities, and outperform competitors.

To get a better feel for Israel as a hotspot for data science, it helps to briefly discuss a few prominent players within the country’s big data tech ecosystem.

To start out with, New York-headquartered Sisense, a fast-growing big data analytics and business intelligence platform with an R&D center located in Israel, is a harbinger of the Israeli data science community. Earlier this year, the company raised $50m in Series D financing, making them one of the top ranked companies in Israel as measured by valuation. Their dominance is largely due to their software’s ability to translate large volumes of highly complex data into actionable and visual information that business leaders and decision makers can use independently in order to drive change.

Meanwhile, on the enterprise level, online ecommerce powerhouse Ebay recently announced the launch of a big data-focused lab in Israel, an initiative that will give a group of academics and entrepreneurs access to millions of records in Ebay’s data sets in order to fuel innovative research projects. This exciting move can directly increase the public’s contribution to large-scale big data-led ventures.

Of course, big data can also be applied to various industries outside of ecommerce, and there are multiple examples of Israeli companies “using data to address substantial problems in maritime commerce, forestry… media, predictive analytics for sales, health care, and education”, as one recent Venture Beat article reports.

An especially compelling example within the field of health sciences is SQream Technologies, a Tel Aviv-based company that introduced a patent-pending technology, which is able to convert large genome data sets into smaller units. These data bundles can then render as images that are suitable for display on a computer screen. By making this health care information more accessible, SQream’s solution represents a step in the right direction in terms of enabling better medical treatments and using genome data to actually save lives.

What led to the emergence of a ‘Data-Nation?’

The abundance of data science-infused tech actors is a function of a number of different Israeli realities. The country is home to a growing, highly skilled data science talent pool, which is adding concrete, valuable insights to the tech ecosystem.

This “brain power” is highly sought after within the tech community, with specific, lucrative data science positions being offered by leading companies and startups. The VC community is also taking notice, with a number of both Israeli and global firms focused on big data as a premier investment vertical.

Additionally, the demand for consumer insights into purchasing decisions has also encouraged the growth of big data solutions, which enable marketers to dive deeper into the customer behaviors and to make necessary strategy adjustments based on the findings, so as to maximize audience attention and drive sales.

What will the future of big data look like in Israel?

While these examples are just a snapshot of the big data field in Israel, the growing number of successful companies collecting, analyzing and presenting data in order to drive business decisions is what makes the country stand out in terms of data science capabilities.

With all the talk surrounding IoT and other data-dependent fields, it will be interesting to see how big-data technologies and platforms will address this widespread growth and data-intensive reality that is currently and will surely continue, to be a major part of our lives. Demand for solutions that can process increasing volumes of information amassed by large enterprises, and our increasing obsessions with understanding consumer behaviors, are likely to grow in the months and years ahead.

For now, with the presence of data science solutions, including major players from the Israeli tech ecosystem, business leaders and decision makers representing both smaller startups and larger enterprises, are now better equipped to improve their performance levels and meet market challenges based on real-time and data-based forecasts. With all this in mind, it is quite clear why the title “Data Nation” is an appropriate way to describe Israel.

This article originally appeared at Tech.eu.

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