Recently I attended a really great event at Ordinance Survey in Southampton which was being run as part of ECSArrows #ArrowTESA IoT series of events. One of the stand out sessions was given by Dr Phil Tetlow of IBM, who if you haven’t seen it before gave his “Three steps to the Left” presentation which I think there is a version of on YouTube. It goes quite deep down the computer science route, discussing Quantum mechanics and its relationship to computing but was meant for us mere mortals as a catalyst to widen a discussion on the use of big data, the internet, its size, limitations and other things
At the beginning of the session, Phil poses the question: “How many websites are in existence?” And he playfully asks for an answer to the nearest three decimal places! Best answer was simply put: “Lots!”
His second question puts todays IOT (internet of things) Big Data business conundrums in their place. How many hyperlinks exist? The best answer again was: “lots to the power of X.”
The point of this question is the amount of data collected and available continues to increase at a phenomenal rate, and the stark fact is that to mine the intelligence out of this data is going to become the one driving factor for business success in the future. We can’t collect it or store it all ourselves. Firstly it’s not all ours, and anyway, it’s going to be too hard, too costly and completely unmanageable in terms of understanding which bits are of value to the business or consumer.
Going back to Quantum computing for a second, the work Alan Turin (Turin machines on Wikipedia if you’re interested) got up to is becoming more relevant now than ever before.
Some of these theories have the expansion of data as being something that could reach infinity – rather like the universe itself, and some of these papers talk about the universe as one big quantum computer. Phil Tetlow, discussed the similarities of this in his sessions and it’s quite thought provoking. I for one will never look at the Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy and the number 42 the same way again!
In practical terms the data collected and stored in different repositories within its structure will only be useful if it can be engineered to deliver useful information to your target audience, so for a retailer this might be a personalised offers directly sent to your phone regarding a latest offer in a shop your just passing, delivered off the back of mined IOT data about your preferences. Some of this data will be background data, admittedly large data sets in some cases, but much of it will need to come from internet based sources, including sensors and other live feeds which combined with the background information will add the most critical part of the use and acceptance of the data and is critical in our decision making process. – Relevance.
Relevance of the data we receive and when we receive it dramatically affects our decision as to what to do with that same piece of data and this is where all the power of IT and processes built to control the connection to consumers is taken out of our hands and placed directly with the consumer. For example, and another playful example given by Phil Tetlow, was to show a picture of a good looking man or woman and suggest, would your reaction to the picture be different if you were viewing it on your own rather than with your Partner? It’s the same picture, the same bit of data, we just chose to do something different with it.
So every piece of data that is out there that we can use even if it’s a hard fact, solid bit of information will be used differently or acted on based on when we received it.
Big data and IOT is really important to us all but only if it’s relevant and timely. Time for the entry of a new word in my IT vocabulary – FAST DATA.
The concept of fast data is the ability to process the value from the vast range of datasets out there in the IOT and from within your own data stores and present it out to your target audience at exactly the right point in time for the receiver to make the decision you want them to make. Only then does all the effort of finding it, collating it, sorting it and packaging it in a new message become any value to the organisation.
Send non relevant info and you’ll soon have one less listener, get it right and you have tapped into a powerful new wave of how consumers react to offers and information you send them.
So, what has this got to do with Hybrid clouds?
Hybrid cloud adoption is accelerating because of its ability to combine public expandable compute capabilities with the private cloud information that is considered the IP for the company.
Simply put, the companies that take the most advantage from using many different ways to extract data from the IOT will be successful, because they can access and mine information from different public data sources and licensed information collected by the spiraling number of app companies that have such useful tools that we are gradually letting them further and further into our personal space. Take Apple’s I watch, think of the data that device now has the power to collect, it knows who you are, where you are, how your heart rate is doing, if you’re stopped or moving, walking, driving etc. Cross referenced with other IOT sources it can start to sell downstream providers information that can engage you. Its lunchtime have you eaten yet?, if it’s a hot day and your walking are you thirsty? And then maybe, suggest a brand of drink to refresh you – and tell you where the nearest outlet is. This is relevant data in action – FAST DATA.
Hybrid clouds need to be agile, they need to be able to connect to the resources a company needs quickly and effortlessly so the company can take advantage of being able to scale when the business opportunity dictates and get that relevant information out the door and in front of a target audience. Time to market, connectivity and responsiveness are all things that hybrid clouds suppliers are ideally placed to support and trumps the public cloud only offerings in being able to mold a solution around the objectives of the company. Hybrid Cloud providers like Vissensa have developed the processes and practices to allow a company to quickly consume this flexibility and are in the forfront of this new data consumption model.