June 03, 2013

Accenture’s Wi-Fi Analytics Case Competition Draws Innovative Designs From Northwestern University Graduate Students

Final judging to be held June 7 at Accenture’s Chicago offices

NEW YORK; June 3, 2013 – Ten teams of Northwestern University graduate students have been examining new ways for businesses to use and analyze the enormous amount of data generated by Wi-Fi networks and submitted proposals for the Accenture (NYSE:ACN) Wi-Fi Analytics Case Competition. The competition is being held in conjunction with Microsoft Corp. and Aruba Networks.

Wi-Fi allows all kinds of devices to exchange data wirelessly. The students are analyzing usage data, which is being collected from a large Aruba Networks Wi-Fi deployment, for patterns, trends, and user behavior. Data mining is used to derive business intelligence from large volumes of unrelated data, and the contest is encouraging students to take novel approaches to this task.

Three teams of finalists will present their proposed projects to a panel of Accenture senior leadership and industry experts on June 7 at Accenture’s offices at 161 North Clark Street, Chicago. For this competition, Microsoft provided free trials and subject matter experts for its analytics tools, and will award Microsoft Surface tablets to the finalists. The data base being mined and Wi-Fi subject matter experts are being provided by Sunnyvale, California-based Aruba Networks.

The competition was open to two- or three-member graduate student teams from programs in Northwestern’ s McCormick School of Engineering: the Master of Engineering Management (MEM) program (http://www.mem.northwestern.edu/), the Master in Science of Analytics (MSiA) program (http://www.analytics.northwestern.edu/


, or anyone enrolled in the Managerial Analytics course.

“As Wi-Fi moves beyond hotspots in coffee shops to becoming an essential communication utility, opportunities to monetize actionable business information continue to grow,” said Shahid Ahmed, managing director, North American Network Practice lead, Accenture. “We want to encourage innovative ways to make use of these data without compromising security or privacy. We designed this competition to challenge students’ imaginative thinking and help them gain new analytics skills that will benefit us all.”

New cutting-edge software tools and “big data” technologies are allowing for consumer and network insights not possible in the past and are enabling businesses to operate in ways not previously imaginable, according to. Mark Werwath, clinical associate professor, Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences and director, Master of Engineering Management program, Northwestern University. “Until now, this space was largely limited to traditional industry research and data specialists,” Professor Werwath said. “While exploring and experimenting with the many unique uses of Wi-Fi data, these students are coming up with groundbreaking ideas for creating new business opportunities.”

In addition to Microsoft Surface tablets, the winning team will share a $1,000 prize.

About Accenture
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with approximately 261,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. Through its Skills to Succeed corporate citizenship focus, Accenture is committed to equipping 500,000 people around the world by 2015 with the skills to get a job or build a business. The company generated net revenues of US$27.9 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2012. Its home page is www.accenture.com.

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Barbara Burgess
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