Introducing the 2020 Elastic Search Awards honorees for the Americas region | Elastic Blog
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Introducing the 2020 Elastic Search Awards honorees for the Americas region

We’re excited to announce the honorees of the 2020 Elastic Search Awards for the Americas region. The honoree companies have all built outstanding use cases to better humanity, implemented something original, or radically transformed their business with the Elastic Stack and the solutions built on top of it.

Here we go. The honorees are: Comunidade SysAdminas, CSX Technology, KeyBank, Odyssey Energy Solutions, PSCU, and reelyActive.

The awards were handed out March 4 in front of a packed Elastic{ON} Tour event in San Francisco. This year’s event, like those before, saw a ton of awesome entries, making it hard for the judges to pick the top honorees.

“The Elastic Search Awards showcase the versatility and power of the Elastic Stack. The submissions ran the gamut of industry, from banking to community to energy to transportation. The solutions demonstrate the transformative power the Elastic Stack can have on an organization,” says one of the judges, Rich Horace, VP of TechOps at Edlio. “Choosing a winner for each category was a challenge. I never thought I would have to be so nit-picky to create separation between the top submissions. Then throw in Certified Professional of the Year, it was like splitting hairs to choose the winner.”  

Our judging panel also honored Flávio Knob for being selected as our first Elastic Certified Professional of the Year for the Americas region. Check out our full story on Knob, a Brazilian who has mastered the Elastic Stack, obtained our Elastic certification, and who has greatly impacted the Elastic community.

“It was difficult choosing the honorees. There were many quality submissions that highlighted how the Elastic Stack can be used for a variety of use cases,” says one of the judges, Tom Davis, Associate Vice President, Information Security and Executive Director and CISO, OmniSOC at Indiana University.

The Elastic Search Awards fall into three categories: Cause Awards (bettering humanity), Cluster Awards (technology innovation), and You Know, for Search! Awards (business transformation). Two honorees were named for each category.

Cause Awards

The judges reviewed the applicants based on a project's measurable impact, reach, and inspiration for bettering the world.

Odyssey Energy Solutions

Odyssey uses the Elastic Stack to enable large-scale capital deployments of solar mini-grids, a critical solution for the one billion people in the world who do not have access to electricity. The Colorado company’s investment and asset management platform, built on the Elastic Stack, streamlines project development, financing, and management by bringing together disparate data sources and enabling real-time analytics on operating mini-grid systems in energy-poor regions of the globe. Odyssey is working toward achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 7 to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all by 2030.

Elastic Search Awards 2020 - Odyssey

Odyssey’s use of the Elastic Stack has been central to building out its investment and asset management platform for the energy access sector. In addition to facilitating project financing, pre-development design and engagement between investors and developers, Odyssey offers real-time data analysis for operating assets, providing an industry-transforming degree of data transparency. One of its clients, the World Bank, is using this technology for its $350 million off-grid financing program in Nigeria. This financing is expected to power one million households and 250,000 businesses across Nigeria.

“Our mission is to enable rapid deployment of distributed solar projects for rural electrification around the globe. Elasticsearch has enabled us to provide our users with the tools to harness and analyze data across the lifecycle of a solar project, generating the critical insights necessary to advance the energy access sector,” says Emily McAteer, CEO and Co-Founder of Odyssey Energy Solutions.

Comunidade SysAdminas

The volunteer group was born with the objective to support and train women who want to work with IT Infrastructure in Brazil, in SysAdmin and in DevOps roles.

Elastic Search Awards 2020 - Comunidade SysAdminas

The community holds events in São Paulo teaching the ins and outs of the Elastic Stack to women for free, focusing on observability and infrastructure. In all, the community helped 50 women in 2019.

The first workshops were focused on observability. Then the group went deeper and conducted technical exercises, such as teaching participants to implement Elasticsearch and Kibana in an on-premises environment. The volunteers were also taught how to use Elastic Cloud.

In addition, participants were instructed how to ingest infrastructure data using Beats, and they were also shown how to instrument Elastic APM in applications developed with Angular and NodeJs.

“We chose to teach the Elastic Stack because of its ease of use. We also believe that it would be beneficial to the careers of the women we are teaching if they were trained on software that is so widely used across industries,” says Valesca Fortunato, the community’s founder.

Cluster Awards (Technology Innovation)

The judges 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.

CSX Technology

CSX is a premier freight transportation company based in Jacksonville, Florida. CSX operates approximately 20,000 route miles of railroad track, transporting more than 6.5 million carloads of products and raw materials a year and connecting customers to major ports, distribution centers, and every major metropolitan area in the eastern United States.

CSX is big on the Elastic Stack and harnesses it for a variety of uses, including searching and analyzing streams of locomotive data. Data is ingested into Elasticsearch from a variety of data sources such as locomotive sensors, wayside signals, and applications that amount to over 100 million daily events. Kibana, part of the Elastic Stack, has provided the business an opportunity to quickly search and visualize large volumes of data in real-time. The easy-to-use data discovery tools have enabled business users, analysts, and system engineers to gain a shared understanding of the data and enriched the application requirements process.

“The Elastic Stack tools have provided us with tremendous speed and flexibility in developing an enterprise streaming data platform,” says Kathleen Brandt, CSX Chief Information Officer. “We were able to quickly bring multiple streams of data into one place, so we could see which data in what combinations would have the greatest value for our customers and employees in the field, enabling them to make better-informed decisions.”

Initial use cases have focused on improving visibility into Positive Train Control (PTC) operations and exploring locomotive sensor data that can help drive reliability of assets and maximize fuel conservation.

Matt Houser, CSX Director of PTC Operations, says, “This project will give us the ability to take a very large amount of streaming data from different sources and turn it into a real-time picture of what is happening on our network. The Elastic tools have been a key part of understanding the data so that we can further strengthen safety, service, and reliability, as well as reach 100% PTC utilization where required.”

reelyActive

Imagine if searching or analyzing occupancy patterns of a physical space were as straightforward and common as searching the web or analyzing website traffic. Montreal-based reelyActive holds the ambition to make physical spaces searchable like the web. It develops both software and hardware to digitize the dynamics of physical spaces and their occupants using ambient wireless packet traffic and RFID. In other words, the company provides a real-time data stream of who, what, where, and how for any physical space.

Elastic Search Awards 2020 - reelyActive

Think of a wireless device such as a smartphone or RFID tag as a “physical-world cursor.” Every time the device transmits a packet it is the equivalent of a click on a page, only the page is a specific room or zone. By storing these “clicks” in Elasticsearch, it becomes straightforward to create visualizations in Kibana which highlight the occupancy of a room, zone, or building over time as well as the physical journeys of the occupants. People are anonymously detected via the Bluetooth on their smartphone or specifically detected with a badge they wear, or other assets detected by RFID tags.

“Thanks to Elastic, we’ve been able to take a huge leap forward towards our vision of making physical spaces searchable, and to myself and my colleagues at reelyActive, this award honors the many merits of open source innovation,” says Jeffrey Dungen, the reelyActive co-founder and CEO.

You Know, for Search! Awards (Business Transformation)

The judges reviewed the applicants based on their projects' importance, potential for growth, and whether the projects have fostered the breakdown of data silos.

PSCU

PSCU, the nation’s premier credit union service organization (CUSO), based in Florida, supports the success of 1,500 credit unions representing more than 3.8 billion transactions annually. PSCU’s payment processing, risk management, data and analytics, loyalty programs, digital banking, marketing, strategic consulting, and mobile platforms have helped deliver seamless member experiences for more than 40 years. Comprehensive, 24/7/365 member support is provided by their contact centers located throughout the United States.

Elastic Search Awards 2020 - PSCU

PSCU’s Elastic-driven “Linked Analysis” system saved credit unions $35 million in fraud in its first 18 months in operations. Mixed with machine learning and alerting, PSCU ingests countless financial transaction-related logs into Elasticsearch to surface and visualize suspected fraudulent activity, and stop it before the perpetrator gets away with any money. Within days of deploying the Elastic Stack, PSCU stopped $35,000 in fraud.

In addition, because PSCU already had a wealth of data in Elasticsearch, it was a natural progression for PSCU to provide operational insights for its contact center operations for credit unions. Elastic also paved the way to a new PSCU emergency management protocol that harnessed Kibana and Elastic Maps to alert credit unions to pending natural disasters. During events like hurricanes or wildfires, PSCU is able to adjust their localized customer support accordingly to help ensure credit union members can access their accounts.

“The Elastic platform has enabled us to create an environment that is dynamic and cross-functional across multiple data sets,” says Karen Postma, Vice President of Risk Analytics at PSCU. “By leveraging this robust data, PSCU has been able to save our credit unions millions of potential fraud dollars that would have otherwise gone undetected until it was too late.”

We recently featured PSCU on our customers page.

KeyBank

KeyBank, of Ohio, is one of the largest US regional banks with over 1,100 branches in 15 states, more than 1,400 ATMs, 17,000 employees, $144 billion in assets, and $6.4 billion in revenue.

Elastic Search Awards 2020 - KeyBank

Recently, KeyBank’s monitoring architecture was much like that of many large enterprises, especially those in financial services. KeyBank’s monitoring platform grew over time consistent with siloed organizations, containing over 21 monitoring systems. The results of this architecture were very slow mean time to resolution (MTTR), but great mean time to blame (MTTB). It was challenging to identify root causes of problems because correlation was impossible across all these systems.

So to change that, KeyBank picked the Elastic Stack to break down those silos. Elasticsearch worked most for its architecture design principles except for the event bus. For that, they decided to use Kafka, which is well supported in Elasticsearch. Upon deployment, the bank saw outstanding performance, rapid growth, $5 million in savings by eliminating redundant monitoring solutions and a dramatic reduction in MTTR.

Watch the video for more. 

Meet the judges

Rich Horace is VP of TechOps at Edlio.

Tom Davis is Associate Vice President, Information Security and Executive Director and CISO, OmniSOC at Indiana University.

Rich Raposa is Senior Manager, for certification at Elastic

Leah Sutton is VP, Global Human Resources at Elastic.

Steve Kearns is VP of Product Management, R&D Engineering at Elastic.

Our hats are off to the judges and to the Elastic community that submitted so many impressive award applications!