Social Impact Using Data and AI: Revealing the 2024 Finalists for the Data For Good Award


The annual Data Team Awards celebrate the critical contributions of data teams to various sectors, spotlighting their role in driving progress and positive change within their organizations.

This year, we’ve seen an exceptional number of more than 200 nominations from around the world, emphasizing the widespread impact of innovation in both data science and artificial intelligence. With the Data + AI Summit around the corner, we are excited to feature the innovators in our six award categories and highlight their remarkable journeys to data-led breakthroughs.

The Data for Good Award honors teams that have harnessed the power of data, analytics, and AI to drive positive change within their organizations and communities. These companies have implemented robust data frameworks and workflows to ensure the responsible and impactful use of data, turning data into a force for social good.

The finalists for the Data for Good Award are examples of those seeking to change the world through data and technology. 

Below are the finalists for 2024’s Data Team Data for Good Award:

 

Crisis Text Line

Crisis Text Line is a nonprofit organization providing free, 24/7, confidential text-based mental health support in English and Spanish by empowering a community of trained volunteers to meet people in their moments of need. To support over 1.3 million conversations annually and the ever-growing need for mental health support, the organization had a clear opportunity to optimize its service by leveraging Machine Learning Operations (MLOps) workflows to manage global operations more efficiently. Crisis Text Line combines Spark and Delta Lake for data ingestion and transformation. Not only does this help its small engineering team support multiple platform instances globally and allows for tailored data pipeline architecture to address various international regulations for sensitive data treatment. Consolidating key data assets in the data lakehouse enables data scientists to focus on building models at scale rather than managing infrastructure, resulting in improved operational efficiency. From better supporting volunteers in training simulations to more effectively maintaining the clinical quality of our conversations, such technological advancements continue to advance Crisis Text Line’s mission of creating technology-enabled human-to-human connections at an unprecedented scale.

 

E.ON Drive Infrastructure GmbH

E.ON Drive Infrastructure (EDRI) is a pan-European market-leading charge point operator with an extensive network of over 5,300 public EV charging points across 10 European countries. The dynamic pricing model approach—developed in collaboration with the E.ON Group Innovation (EGI)—adjusts public EV charging fees utilizing Databricks based on real-time data like day-ahead energy prices, energy network costs, and charging station utilization. The model strategically incentivizes EV drivers to charge their vehicles when renewable energy availability is high and grid demand is low. By offering significant discounts—up to 50%—during optimal times such as midday (10 AM to 3 PM) and overnight (8 PM to 6 AM), EDRI encourages smarter energy consumption. This pricing strategy not only enhances grid stability but also maximizes the use of renewable energy sources. A six-month pilot project in Copenhagen, a city with a robust e-mobility network and 36,000 registered EVs, successfully demonstrated the model’s effectiveness. The trial saw a doubling in the number of discounted charging sessions, illustrating the potential of data-driven solutions to transform public infrastructure. By integrating technologies like Databricks, EDRI continues to drive business and environmental benefits, further establishing its role as a leader in sustainable public charging solutions.

 

Flo Health

Flo is the leading app in Apple’s Health and Fitness category worldwide, with 64 million monthly active users and more than 350 million downloads to date. It is also the first and only period tracking app with dual privacy and security certifications (ISO 27701 & ISO 27001). Every day, on their mission to build a better future for female health, they’re faced with the responsibility of protecting user data while providing valuable health insights at the same time. In 2023, the app introduced the award-winning Anonymous Mode, which allows users to maintain privacy over their reproductive health information. This feature was recognized as one of Fast Company’s 2023 World-Changing Ideas, as well as Time’s Best Inventions of 2023. Another core part of Flo’s mission is to improve health literacy in countries that need it most. Through their give-back initiative, the Pass It On Project, they have already donated over 11 million free Flo Premium subscriptions across 66 countries. Their goal is to give up to 1 billion women in need access to Flo Premium for free on Android devices. The company is also engaged in a first-of-its-kind study exploring the effects of acute stress on pain perception among women during the Russia-Ukraine war. This research exemplifies Flo’s commitment to addressing the historical underrepresentation of women in medical studies. The Databricks Data Intelligence Platform helped to support these initiatives by managing and analyzing Flo Health’s vast and detailed datasets.

 

Sydney Water
Sydney Water, a major water utility in Australia, manages an expansive network of 22,600 kilometers of pipes, 247 reservoirs, and multiple water filtration and pumping stations. The utility provider faced roadblocks in optimizing its maintenance practices and monitoring potential disruptions and environmental hazards, such as sewage overflows, which could compromise community health and the ecological integrity of the land. With a mission centered on providing high-quality water services and ensuring sustainable environmental stewardship, Sydney Water adopted the Databricks Data Intelligence Platform to address some of these issues in a new way. Using Delta Lake for reliable data storage and Unity Catalog for effective data governance, the Databricks suite supported seamless data engineering, machine learning, and analytics, forming the backbone of Sydney Water’s new data-driven initiatives. Advancements in this arena facilitated the development of AI-driven projects, like AICE (i.e., AI CCTV Inspection), which uses AI to identify pipe issues to reduce maintenance backlogs. Sydney Water also used AI models to monitor water quality in real-time, enhancing community well-being by providing access to clean, natural swimming areas. Finally, the utility business developed AI solutions for quick algae identification in water samples and risks in operational data, in addition to employing AI to assist staff with policy-related queries. These efforts work together to ensure clean water access, protect the environment, and promote recreational activities within the community.

 

The Ocean Cleanup 

The Ocean Cleanup, a nonprofit dedicated to removing 90% of floating ocean plastic by 2040, is embarking on a crucial mission to tackle the global plastic pollution crisis. By targeting both existing ocean plastic and the sources of plastic pollution, they aim to safeguard marine ecosystems for future generations. In partnership with the Databricks for Good program, The Ocean Cleanup is leveraging innovative solutions to enhance their impact. The Rivers Team at The Ocean Cleanup has developed a groundbreaking probabilistic computer vision model to assess the amount of plastic entering the world’s oceans. Despite initial challenges with incremental ingestion and horizontal scaling, deploying two Databricks resident solutions architects has significantly improved efficiency, bringing them closer to achieving their goal. By enabling the Data Intelligence Platform, they are transitioning from a piecemeal approach to a cohesive cloud architecture, balancing customizability with reduced complexity and maintenance costs. The Ocean Cleanup continues to make significant strides toward a cleaner, healthier ocean environment through strategic partnerships and technological advancements. The Ocean Cleanup’s is focused on creating a robust reporting platform that correlates impact with funding, facilitating data-driven decisions crucial for resource allocation. The Ocean Cleanup’s data departments are streamlining their infrastructure to increase deployment stability, further advance in monitoring techniques and optimize the processing of large volumes of data, ensuring scalability.

 

We will honor all Data Team Awards finalists and winners at the Data + AI Summit. A special awards ceremony will take place on Tuesday, June 11, on the expo floor at 6:30 PM. 



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