The Weird World Of Datalandia
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Sunday, 14 July 2013

Big Data isn’t usually seen as the most street-cred area to work in, and big data from industrial machines is probably as far as you can get from trendy. So how about making it trendier with weird films about vampires and werewolves? No, it wasn’t what sprang to our minds either, but we’re obviously just too hidebound.

GE is determined to make big data accessible with a series of short films to show non-database people how wonderful Big Data is, and in particular ‘the industrial internet’.

This is described as the layer of data sitting on top of data-enabled machines, where ‘machines’ can be anything from a smart fridge to an MRI scanner.  To illustrate the concepts, GE has made a set of films based on themes such as vampires, werewolves and extra-terrestrials. 



The backdrops for the films is Hamburg’s Miniatur Wunderland, a miniaturised world that centres on model trains in miniature surroundings with locations including an airport, hospital, soccer stadium, ships, cars, and thousands of mini people.

This has been rechristened Datalandia for the film series, and a new one mini-epic will be posted each week on GE's Datalandia page, as well as being shown on real big screens in places like Brooklyn's DUMBO, home to the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy's outdoor film series.



In the first film DeVamping Datalandia,  "sexy vampires" invade Datalandia, and the brave inhabitants lure them to the soccer stadium and flood it with light. Among the ‘coming soon’ promises are Invasion of the Cattle Snatchers, and Program Like the Wind.

The idea is that GE smart machines and the data they provide make them the heroes of the adventures. The films are rated "GE" for General Electric, and contain the warning,

"Data Geeks strongly cautioned: explicit use of industrial internet, intelligent, machines, and things that spin."

OK, so I liked the little touches like the Inner Join label on the electricity pylon, but really, these people need to get out more.

Tommy Means of Mekanism, the creative agency that dreamt up the concept, said the overall idea was to explore the question

"What if there was a little town that had the industrial internet and they were using it every day to keep the town folks happy, healthy and productive?"

Er, OK, but the vampires come in because…..?

Alongside the films, GE is planning to distribute real film posters for the videos in tech-y cities such as Austin, Boston, Brooklyn and San Francisco. An even more bizarre idea is coming later in the month. You’ll be able to upload a photo of your face at GE’s Datalandify Yourself site, and you’ll get a mini version (under an inch high) of yourself printed on a 3D printer.

If you’re already thinking there is a group of people at GE who should probably take more dried frog pills and go and lie down in a darkened room, Linda Boff, executive director, global brand marketing at GE, said:

"Imagine if your jet engine could tweet."

On the whole, I’d rather it concentrated on keeping working. Getting a tweet from a jet engine saying “ooh, look at that cloud” would not improve my flight.

On the other hand, if you think this all sounds a good idea, the good news is that GE hopes to recruit more tech talent with the campaign according to Ms. Boff. So you too could get a job at GE and join the fun. Just pack the dried frog pills.


More Information


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Last Updated ( Sunday, 14 July 2013 )