Evan Welbourne is founder and CEO of AlgoSnap, a startup that accelerates the development and deployment of analytics for the Internet of Things (IOT). In the last 6 years he managed the Computer Vision Research Group at Amazon and led the Device Intelligence Group at Samsung Research. He was previously Senior Researcher on the Personalized Relevancy, Ranking, and Recommendation team at Nokia Research Palo Alto. Evan holds a Ph.D. from University of Washington, CSE where he led the RFID Ecosystem project. Evan grew up in New York and lives in Seattle with his wife and son.
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently leading the CrowdSignals.io campaign to crowdfund the largest mobile and sensor data set ever collected for use by the research community. This includes high-quality sensor, social, system, and user interaction data as well as ground truth labels from demographically diverse smartphone owners across the United States.
Why are you passionate about data analytics?
We live in an increasingly data-driven world. Research, development, and day-to-day systems operations are all powered by ever larger, faster, and more diverse streams of data. Analytics are the key to unlocking the value in these data and to defining our future!
What was the most exciting challenge that you solved using analytics?
My group at Samsung used signal processing, machine learning, and on-device data mining to develop smartphone personalization software. The software processed sensor data to automatically recognize and log a user’s physical activities, which were then mined for behavioral patterns. It enabled a variety of customizations based on correlations in the data. For example, “he usually plays Angry Birds while on the train, so pre-load that app when he gets on the train” or, “she calls her mother on Saturday afternoons at home, so move that contact to the top of her list under those conditions”.
What traits do you think are most important for students learning analytics?
They must have strong, clear questions to guide their inquiries, persistence to see their way to a solution, and the flexibility to try a new approach when the first, second, and third attempts don’t work.