01 March 2019 News

Drumroll Please: Say Heya to the 2019 Elastic Search Awards Honorees...

By David Kravets

It’s time to recognize the honorees of the inaugural Elastic Search Awards, which acknowledge exceptional uses of the Elastic Stack for unique, humanitarian, and business-transformation purposes.

For 2019, we expanded the Elastic Search Awards, formerly known as the Elastic Cause Awards, to recognize more than just those using the Elastic Stack for the betterment of humanity. We’re also now celebrating organizations implementing something original or impossible (“I never would have thought of that use case”) in addition to organizations who are transforming their business with Elastic’s technology. The awards now fall into three categories: Cause Awards, Cluster Awards (Technology Innovation), and You Know, for Search! Awards (Business Transformation). Two honorees were named for each category.

Rich Horace, a member of the Elastic Search Awards’ five-judge panel and director of DevOps at native advertising startup Nativo in Los Angeles, summed up the entries for the Americas.

“What's fun about the Elastic Stack is that it’s not one size fits all. There were so many great submissions with creative solutions across a variety of industries,” Horace says. “One thing that stood out was the number of quality submissions. Voting was a lot harder than I would have thought. The variety of the use cases and the creative implementations were outstanding.”

Leah Sutton, who is vice president for global HR at Elastic and also sat on the judging panel, says, “We had an amazing crop of applications this year that highlight how the Elastic Stack is being used for security, innovation, for empowering nonprofits and for helping businesses transform and grow. I’m inspired by the creativity and innovation we saw and it was difficult to pick the honorees because all of the projects the judges reviewed were interesting in their own right.”

The results of the Elastic Search Awards for the Americas were officially announced at Elastic{ON} Tour San Francisco on February 28, 2019. Honorees received a one-year Elastic Online Training Subscription and three complimentary Elastic{ON} Tour San Francisco admission tickets, in addition to a dedicated booth at the event to share their project with the Elastic Community.

And the Americas honorees are...

Cause Awards

Our judging panel reviewed the applicants based on a project’s measurable impact, reach, and inspiration for bettering the world.

GuideStar by Candid

GuideStar, which maintains online profiles on 2.7 million currently and formerly IRS-recognized nonprofits, helps people make better decisions about nonprofits and the work they do. The profiles are populated with information from the IRS, directly from nonprofits, and via other partners in the nonprofit sector.

The nonprofit’s search engine, powered by Elasticsearch, is core to connecting people to the data to make informed decisions about the social sector. Elasticsearch helps power the mission to revolutionize philanthropy by providing searchable information that advances transparency, helps users to make better decisions, and encourages charitable giving.

“We are honored to receive this award. We connect people to data that informs their decisions about the social sector. Elastic Stack is integral to accomplishing this goal. Last year, more than 10 million people found nonprofit information through the GuideStar website, in our products and services, and on 200-plus websites and applications that use our data,” says Shane T. Ward, senior director of technology at GuideStar by Candid. “Elasticsearch powered these searches. It is much faster and more accurate than our previous search technology, and our stakeholders benefit from it every day. The Elastic Stack also enabled us to move these activities to the cloud, allowing us to shift maintenance resources to more productive activities and to make our search function scalable.”

NowPow

NowPow is a women-owned-and-led technology company that powers communities with the knowledge people need to get well, care for others, and manage life while living with disease. NowPow partners with health systems, health plans, and community-based organizations to conduct screenings, identify self-care needs, facilitate referrals, support bidirectional patient engagement, and document referral outcomes in the United States.

The nonprofit envisions itself in a future where it is fully integrated into hospitals, public health departments, and community-based organizations. Their goal is to enable anyone to identify resources matched to their needs and to gain insight into resource capacity, seamlessly book appointments, and confirm attendance with real-time feedback.

NowPow uses Elasticsearch as the foundation for their search and resource matching technology within their community-based resource directory. A small Elasticsearch cluster in Azure powers their geolocation-based search and referral matching process. They have built an indexing and publishing process to periodically rebuild the search index from their content system — allowing them to have quick and efficient searching for resources across the country and to power their matching algorithms that automatically match patients to nearby resources.

“We are thrilled to be an Elastic Search Awards honoree. As a social impact technology company, NowPow works to connect patients to resources in order to empower them in self care, and to make resource knowledge accessible to all,” said Mike Wolf, head of technology at NowPow. “Elasticsearch is the core of our resource search technology, and is integral to supporting our work across health systems and patient communities.”

Cluster Awards (Technology Innovation)

Our judging panel reviewed the applicants based on inspiration, uniqueness, and whether the project required a leap of faith that the Elastic Stack would be the engine that powered the successful solution.

SolveBio

SolveBio is at the intersection of technology and genomics. The startup describes its field as “precision medicine.” SolveBio’s team of designers, scientists, and engineers deliver solutions to large pharma companies, enabling them to leverage large amounts of complex molecular data for exploratory research and clinical drug development.

The Elastic Stack is core to their enterprise molecular data platform, which provides customers with a secure space for semi-structured data from hundreds of sources. The sources include molecular diagnostics reports, public data repositories, private knowledge bases, and others.

SolveBio’s goal is to get the right data to the right people across the vast multidisciplinary environment that is the global pharma enterprise and to enable the surfacing of new biological insights necessary to discover and develop effective therapies. By considering molecular data points as a diverse set of “events,” SolveBio has been able to take advantage of the Elastic Stack.

Their approach, built upon Elasticsearch’s dynamic mapping support and powerful query and aggregation features, combines with a “genomics-aware” layer of APIs and tools. This encourages users and platform developers to ingest data first and transform it when necessary. Also, this enables rapid development in a fast-changing landscape where new data and metadata formats are frequently introduced, while catering to the diverse set of needs across their customers’ organizations. Among other things, Elasticsearch has brought scientists much closer to their data, allowing them to ask complex domain-specific questions without the need for a bioinformatics expert in between.

“SolveBio is really excited to be a 2019 Elastic Search Awards honoree. We’ve considered ourselves Elasticsearch power users since 2014 and have been able to push the system to its limits,” says David Caplan, the SolveBio chief technology officer and cofounder. “It is thanks to the Elastic Stack that we’ve been able to accomplish so much with such a small team working in the incredibly complex world of genomics.”

Jet.com

Jet.com is an ecommerce company and subsidiary of Walmart. Elasticsearch has been greatly helping Jet.com match customers’ textual queries with their inventory of products. They have successfully built an end-to-end Content-Based Image Retrieval (CBIR) system upon Elasticsearch.

This novel visual search system is extremely easy to deploy, distribute, scale, and monitor in a cost-friendly manner. A visual search system is extremely important for ecommerce companies like Jet.com to assist customers in discovering products that align with their interests. In particular, when customers shop categories like furniture, fashion, and lifestyle, their buying decisions are largely influenced by a product’s visual appeal, such as design and pattern style — all of which is difficult to describe in text. For this scenario, uploading a picture of the product they like could be substantially more specific, expressive, and straightforward than just an abstract textual description.

Built on Elasticsearch, Jet.com seamlessly integrates both textual and visual product information into a single index. This leads to a natural and coherent way to support multimodal searches, allowing customers to express their interests in a variety of textual requests (e.g., keywords, brands, attributes, price ranges) jointly with visual queries.

You Know, for Search! Awards (Business Transformation)

Our judging panel reviewed the applicants based on their projects’ importance, potential for growth, and whether the projects have fostered the breakdown of data silos.

T-Mobile USA

T-Mobile is a mobile phone network that recently launched a mobile app, combined with backend services, and uses the Elastic Stack to monitor the app’s dynamic/personalized customer experiences and system health in real time by ingesting analytics, observability/Zipkin data, and large structured JSON documents which show the true customer experience. All of this data is parsed down to key-value pairs and indexed. From there it is available via Kibana and includes geomaps, machine learning jobs, and dashboards which let a product owner segment reports by more than 1,800 data points available in the index.

In short, this mobile app renders unique, personalized experiences for every customer. Among other things, the Elastic Stack helps T-Mobile monitor the dynamic content that is being served to customers, in addition to knowing where customers are navigating in the app as well as whether they are getting a fast user experience. The Elastic Stack is also helping pinpoint app breakdowns and where customers are using the app in real time.

"We are thrilled to be a 2019 Elastic Search Awards honoree! At T-Mobile, we're obsessed with listening to our customers and providing them with the best experiences. Elastic helps us deliver on that goal by giving us the tools to create personalized content for each customer,” says Michael Mitchell, principal software engineer.

Brazilian Ministry of Health/DATASUS, through the work of Asper TI

DATASUS is the Health Informatics Department of the Brazilian Ministry of Health. It is the coordinator of the National Health Information System and the guardian of the National Health Information databases. A 2017 law in Brazil required the creation of a list of those who were waiting for any kind of procedure, exam, medical appointment, or surgery in healthcare facilities of the public health service of the State of Santa Catarina. Asper, an Elastic partner, is contracted by the Ministry of Health to implement and maintain their Elastic Stack services. Asper was commissioned to make all of this data available via a REST API in order to allow it to be consumed by any application, regardless of the programming language and through textual searches.

Elasticsearch has been implemented as a "bridge" between the transactional database and the applications that consume the data. Logstash synchronizes transactional databases with Elasticsearch through a JDBC connection, making SELECTs in short periods to retrieve the differential data and to keep Elasticsearch synchronized. Kibana is used to display dashboards with near real-time information demonstrating the number of scheduled medical appointments, surgeries, exams, and procedures. This solution is expected to be expanded across Brazil in 2019.

“We’ve been entrusted to handle the healthcare data of millions of Brazilian citizens, which means we have a duty of sensitivity and care. The work we do helps improve the systems that the National Health System relies on to help save lives,” said Jesse Peixoto, an Asper technical leader on the project. “Being recognized as an honoree validates that work. The Elastic Stack is an integral part of the smooth functioning of the Brazilian health care system and we’re passionate about the meaningful work that we get to do every day at DATASUS.”

Meet the Judges

We’re still accepting Elastic Search Awards applications for the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region through July 31 as well as for Asia Pacific and Japan until later on in 2019.

Shoutouts to all the applicants and honorees, in addition to our five-member judging panel, listed here:

  • Nancy Gohring covers application and infrastructure performance for 451 Research, including IT monitoring, application performance management, and log management.
  • Rich Horace is director of DevOps at Nativo, a native advertising startup in Los Angeles.
  • Tom Davis is the founding executive director and chief information security officer of OmniSOC.
  • Leah Sutton is the vice president of human resources at Elastic and is responsible for all facets of HR.
  • Steve Kearns is the vice president of product management at Elastic, focusing on Elasticsearch and commercial products.