SAS Software – Game-Changing Insights from #SASGF

SAS Software Global Forum

A few days ago, we published a post while we were en route to the much-awaited annual SAS Global Forum. As expected, it didn’t disappoint one bit and we were able to meet with tons of incredible SAS software users, partners, and enthusiasts in general. (Congratulations to Christina Clarke for being the lucky winner of our raffle draw!). What was great about the forum this year, in addition to interacting with some great people, were the key insights and stories that were shared during the course of the 4-day event.

One common misconception about SAS software and analytics tools, in general, is that their sole value is meant exclusively for businesses and other forms of monetary growth. Terms like Business Intelligence (BI) tend to skew the perception towards this a little more than ideal. While it is true that analytics are increasingly playing a major role in the modern business landscape, what cannot be ignored is the value it has had and continues to have,  in other inspirational, more socially impactful avenues.

In a time where people and entire nations around the world are dealing with unfathomable challenges, it’s great to see analytics and data playing a critical role in alleviating these issues. The SAS Global Forum was loaded with many such empowering stories and presentations – in the sections below, we highlight three key presentations that stood out and inspired us the most.


SAS Software and Artificial Intelligence Supporting Animal Conservation Efforts in Africa

WildTrack has been an organisation that we’ve been intrigued by for a while now. Sky Alibhai and Zoe Jewell are two remarkable individuals who are making a huge difference for conservation efforts in the African continent. Having worked in countries like Zimbabwe and Namibia, Zoe and Sky have leveraged non-invasive tactics and methods of tracking wild animals, understanding their movement patterns, habitual trends, and other key characteristics. They’ve specifically relied on indigenous tracking methods in their work, which is why they’ve been able to maintain non-invasive methods.

The WildTrack team has merged their efforts with the power of analytics by using SAS to identify cheetah footprints in Namibia. With over 93% of the Cheetah population declining over the past century (100,000 to just 7,000) and more than 76% of historical cheetah habitats in Africa no longer home to the animals, cheetahs are at risk.

In order to protect them, understanding their movement patterns, their population in a particular region, gender composition, and many other factors is very important. Using SAS software, WildTrack has managed to merge hundreds, if not thousands, of years worth of indigenous instincts and insights in animal tracking with artificial intelligence. By doing this, they’ve created a system that can analyse footprints to determine specific characteristics of the animal, allowing conservationists the ability to track them seamlessly and centrally from any part of the world. The technology has a long way to go but it’s definitely a huge step in the right direction.


Global GoalsCast Using Data to Perpetuate Positive Narratives

We live in a world where something bad seems to be happening at any given time – exacerbated significantly due to the fact that we are constantly stuck in a 24-hour news cycle/binge. That’s why it was a breath of fresh air when Claudia Roma Edelman from Global GoalsCast highlighted how data and research demonstrated that we were actually living in one of the most prosperous eras in human history.

Global GoalCast’s presentation was inspiring. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it – it’s basically a podcast that strives to make the United Nations Global Goals easier to understand while bringing to light some of the more inspirational stories from around the world. They cover a variety of key areas from poverty alleviation to health to education to gender equality, social justice, and much more. Through it all, they leverage SAS software to provide high-quality data and insights that are used to drive their conversations and positive messaging forward.


Biomedical image processing via SAS Viya

Coming back from any medical condition is hard but coming back from something as severe as a minor stroke to speak at the SAS Global Forum just a year later is truly remarkable. Yet, that’s precisely what SAS’ Software Development Manager, Jared Peterson, did – it was truly inspiring!

What was even more empowering about his presentation is the work that his team has been, coincidentally, doing for a few years now – working on biomedical image processing. During his presentation, Jared ran through how the very images taken from his scans could be processed using the power of SAS Viya with Python and Jupyter notebooks in determining, visualising, and quantifying the anomalies in his results. This information can be used to rapidly indicate and potentially predict health risks. The prospect of having this level of analytics and insight-driven analysis within the medical space is very encouraging!


Key takeaways

Overall, the SAS Global Forum was a great experience where we got to interact with tons of other partners and learned about some of the innovative ways SAS software was transforming lives – not just businesses and organisations. We left Denver feeling encouraged and inspired by the role of analytics in the future, as well as the role we can play in taking it to the next levels.

Given our position as a SAS Silver partner and a sponsor of the SAS Global Forum, we were able to witness many unique insights and stories from the forum. If you’d like to know more about what we experienced, feel free to reach out to us at any time and we’d be happy to share!

Additionally, if you would like to know more about our various SAS software services, feel free to visit our website, drop us an email or give us a call. You could also read up on how we can install, administer, and host your organisation’s own SAS environment prior to meeting with us – we’d be happy to answer any questions you may have. Stay tuned to this feed for the latest!


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