UM Auto Conference Focuses On Auto IT, Big Data In The Auto Industry: The sixth annual “Focus on the Future” automotive research conference, “The Business of IT: Big Data in the Automotive Industry,” will be held Sept. 11 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Michigan League Ballroom, 911 N. University Ave., Ann Arbor. The Sixth Annual “Focus on the Future” Automotive Research Conferences will offer five conferences this year that address topics of importance to the future of the automotive industry. The first conference this year focuses on the importance of information technology to the automotive industry. Our recent Business of IT conferences have focused on how IT is changing the organization and the vehicle. This year we will explore how the auto industry is using “Big Data” to do things such as designing vehicles, communicating with consumers, managing warranty claims, analyzing crash data, or developing traffic data for global positioning system devices. Presenters will show how the industry is improving through its ability to gather, manage, analyze, and apply large quantities of data to their processes. Some of the key questions the event will address include:  How are companies using large amounts of data to support their business? What can they do with “Big Data” strategies and technologies that they could not do in the past? What analytic tools do auto-related companies use to manage “Big Data?” What functions are more likely to implement “Big Data” strategies? How do mapping and traffic companies provide dynamic driving information to drivers around the world simultaneously? What new services will mapping and traffic companies provide in the near future? Confirmed speakers include Bruce Belzowski, Assistant Research Scientist, UM Transportation Research Institute; Michael Cafarella, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, UM College of Engineering; Carol Flannagan, Associate Research Scientist and Research Director of the Center for the Management of Information for Safe and Sustainable Transportation (CMIST); Sanat Joshi, Vice President, Oracle Corp.; and Harriet Chen-Pyle, Senior Business Developer: Traffic Product Unit, TomTom North America. The event cost is $200. Register at or call Bonnie Pond at (734) 763-2466.