Road to EXPO2020 Webinar Series
Methods and Applications

  • Virtual
  • 9 November 2021

  • 08:00 - 09:30 EST (New York)
    10:00 - 11:30 BRT (Rio de Janiero)
    14:00 - 15:30 CET (Geneva)
    15:00 - 16:30 CAT (Kigali)
    17:00 - 18:30 GST (Dubai)
    21:00 - 22:30 CST (China)



EXPO2020 takes place in Dubai between 1 October 2021 and 31 March 2022 with a focus on "Connecting Minds and Creating the Future" through sustainability, mobility and opportunity.

As part of the EXPO2020, the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Center of UAE (FCSC) will host a 3-day event in January 2022 organized jointly with the United Nations Committee of Experts on Big Data and Data Science for Official Statistics (UN-CEBD). The event is about data solutions that will support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and help in overcoming emergency situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, by using mobile phone data. It will showcase collaboration opportunities on the UN Global Platform and the Regional Hubs for Big Data, especially the Regional Hub in Dubai. From October to December 2021, UN-CEBD will organize a series of webinars in close collaboration with FCSC/UAE, paving the road to the event.

The second of these webinars will be held on 9 November and will focus on Methods and Applications and will feature the work of the UN-CEBD Task teams.

What kind of methods do we need if we want to change real-time mobile positioning data into tourism or migration statistics, or estimate a consumer price index from high-frequency retail scanner data? In this webinar, experts from the UN-CEBD task teams will show how national statistical offices could use such data with corresponding new methods and new technologies to produce tourism, migration and price statistics. Since mobile phone data and retail scanner data are sensitive for persons and businesses, good privacy preserving measures should be taken to guarantee the protection of privacy and confidentiality. Experts from the UN-CEBD task team on privacy preserving techniques will show how advanced encryption and technology can help. This second webinar will describe the methodology which is being developed and will give hands-on demonstration of some applications.

The first webinar was held on 19 October and the recording and more information is available on the webinar page. Further webinars will be held on 23 November and 14 December. More information coming soon.

Program // 9 Nov 2021

NY Times below
Introduction by the Chair
Ronald Jansen, UNSD
Sustainable, explainable and actionable machine learning to deliver a positive change in the UAE
Dymitr Ruta, Khalifa University
Using retailer scanner data in consumer price statistics
Tanya Flower, ONS UK
UN-CEBD Task Team on Mobile Phone Data (MPD): overview, achievements and future plans
Esperanza Magpantay, ITU
Best practices for population, tourism, migration, information society, transportation and disaster management
Siim Esko, Positium
Enabling International Collaborations via Privacy Enhancing Technology
Matjaz Jug, Statistics Netherlands
Demo of Privacy Enhancing Technology
Jack Fitzsimons, Oblivious
Wrap up and way forward/link to EXPO2020 and Regional Hubs
Ronald Jansen, UNSD

Ronald Jansen
Assistant Director, United Nations Statistics Division

Ronald Jansen is Assistant Director of the United Nations Statistics Division in New York. He is responsible for the Division’s work on data innovation and on statistical capacity management. This includes supporting the work of the UN Committee of Experts on Big Data and Data Science for Official Statistics, and specifically the UN Global Platform and its Regional Hubs. The platform is a collaborative environment for the global statistical community to jointly execute data innovation projects and share data, services, methods and expertise.

His educational background is in Statistics and Psychology; he obtained a PhD in mathematical modelling of human information processing in May 1990; then joined the UN Statistics Division in June 1990 in New York.

Further information can be found on the website at: UN-CEBD and Capacity Development // UNSD

Dymitr Ruta
Chief Scientist at Emirates ICT Innovation Center (EBTIC), Khalifa University

Dr. Dymitr Ruta is a Chief Scientist at Emirates ICT Innovation Center (EBTIC), Khalifa University (KU), where he leads Big Data Analytics and Machine Learning Group. He received PhD in Statistical Pattern Recognition from the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) in 2003. Prior to joining EBTIC, he worked as a Lecturer at UWS, Senior Researcher at British Telecom Lab (UK) and Senior Researcher at Boronia Capital Hedge Fund (Australia).His research interests span broad areas of machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), and mathematical modelling and simulation (MMS). He is an accomplished researcher with 100+ publications, 6+patents and 20+ int. awards. Dymitr leads research & innovation teams to deliver state-of-the-art reusable predictive services focused on big data monetization for large industrial & government partners and holds a proven track of multimillion value generation in finance, telecom, aerospace, education and health industries.

Tanya Flower
Product Owner, Consumer Prices Transformation, ONS UK

Tanya Flower has been chair of the UN Task Team on Scanner Data since the beginning of 2020 and an active member of the international Prices community since 2017. Tanya joined the Prices division at the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) in 2016 and has since led on the ONS transformation programme to use new data sources such as scanner and web scraped data in the production of consumer price statistics. This includes experience of acquiring these new data sources to more recently leading the development of a new IT system that can be used for these data. Previous roles have also included working on the classification of public sector debt in the national accounts and providing economic commentary for releases such as labour market statistics and GDP.

Esperanza Magpantay
Senior Statistician, ICT Data and Analytics Division, International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

Esperanza Magpantay is the Senior Statistician of the ICT Data and Analytics division of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), where she has been working since December 2000. She is responsible for the collection, harmonization, and dissemination of ICT statistics. Ms Magpantay coordinates the work of the ITU Expert Groups on ICT indicators, the ITU’s representative at the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development and its Steering Committee, UN Inter-agency Expert Group on SDG Indicators and the UN Committee of Experts on Big Data and Data Science for Official Statistics (UN-CEBD) where she currently leads the Task Team on mobile phone big data. She has represented ITU in international meetings including the UN Statistical Commission, the UN Committee for the Coordination of Statistical Activities (CCSA), the UN World Data Forum (UNWDF) and in regional events giving presentations and trainings on ICT statistics. Before joining ITU, she worked for 7 years at the international Labour Office (ILO) in Geneva as a statistical officer. Ms Magpantay holds a master’s degree in Business Analytics and Big Data from IE University in Madrid, Spain, and Bachelor of Science in Statistics from the University of the Philippines.

Siim Esko
Head of Sales & Marketing, Positium

Siim Esko mainly works with large public sector institutions across Asia, Africa and South America to leverage location data from mobile networks. He used to work for the public think tank Estonian Development Fund as an expert on foresight and emerging economies. He has been a consultant to the UN Statistics Division and International Telecommunications Union in big data topics. Siim has graduate degrees in economics from Copenhagen and Vienna. He now leads the business development at Positium.

Positium has been analysing big data from mobile network operators for 15 years. Statistical offices and governments in the Middle East, Europe and South-East Asia have turned to Positium as a global market leader specialising in mobile positioning data for official statistics. Positium understands statistical business processes and our mission is to improve the quality of life through data-driven decisions based on mobile positioning data.

Matjaz Jug
Head of CIO Office, Statistics Netherlands

Matjaz worked as IT Director in the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia and as Chief Information Officer at Statistics New Zealand and has provided consultancy services to several leading international organizations. He currently leads the development of Data Strategy and Enterprise Architecture at the Dutch national statistical office and chairs the UN's Committee of Experts on Privacy Protecting Technologies. Matjaz received a University Degree in Informatics and an MSc in Computer Science from the University of Ljubljana.

Jack Fitzsimons
Head of Technology, Oblivious

Jack Fitzsimons runs the technology development for Privacy Technology firm, Oblivious Software Ltd. He is an active member of the UN's Committee of Experts on Privacy Protecting Technologies and actively publishes on the topic. He holds a DPhil (PhD) from the Machine Learning Research Group at the University of Oxford.