Industry News Round-up: Big Data Impacts MLB

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To keep you on top of the latest and greatest big data technology news, we’ve rounded-up some topics in the news. First, read about how big data is impacting Major League Baseball and then check out real examples where the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data are playing well together.

Big Data Impacts MLB

With the start of the Major League Baseball season this week, Ronald Blum of NBC Bay Area reported that infielder shifts are happening more often due to big data technology and analytics.  Many teams are using big data to track and analyze pitches and batted balls. The article finds that since 2011 infield shifts have increased from 2,300+ times to over 13,000 times last season. Mr. Blum sited the following example to demonstrate how big data is making a difference by changing the way infielders play:

“Last April, the St. Louis Cardinals put all four infielders on the right side for the New York Mets’ Lucas Duda when he got to two strikes. He hit a two-hopper to second baseman Mark Ellis — who was perfectly positioned about 15 feet into right field and threw to first for the easy out. Duda estimates shifts sliced his average about 20 points last season”

So, if you attend a game this spring take a minute to see if you can spot where big data might be playing a role with your favorite team.

IoT and Big Data Working Together

Conner Forrest of ZDNet writes, “As organizations step into IoT, they must understand the symbiotic relationship between it and big data. For IoT deployments to really make an impact, they must provide some sort of useful tool or service, while also collecting relevant data.” Flip it around and big data must provide useful and actionable insights or the data amassed is not of value either. Here are a couple of examples from Mr. Forrest’s article that demonstrate where the two are working well together:

  • UPS is using vehicle sensors and big data analytics to improve the efficiency of its fleet
  • The city of Barcelona has married city-wide sensors and big data analytics  to improve its public transportation as well as monitor the impacts of tourism
  • John Deere is using environmental sensors to detect agricultural data that can be analyzed  to better inform farmers about their crops and to allow them to better manage water use

These examples highlight the importance of not just amassing data but collecting the right data that will produce insights to transform your business.

Industry News Round-up: The Power of Big Data Analytics

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To keep you on top of the latest and greatest big data technology news, we’ve rounded-up a list of topics in the news this week. The key theme this week is the power of big data analytics to transform businesses and organizations.

Big Data and Water Management
“By 2030, rising population and growing urbanization will increase water demand by 30 percent, according to the United Nations,” reports Michael Sullivan of IBM for Forbes.  More and more communities are needing to move beyond traditional water management and tap into the potential of big data analytics and connected systems. The article highlights the Netherlands which has embarked on a project to put big data to use to not only manage water demand but to also account for rising sea levels and the impacts of extreme weather on their infrastructure, “by integrating big data, existing water-control systems and detailed weather analysis, this system will be able to predict when tunnels will flood, improve models for storing and releasing water, and use sensors to proactively pinpoint leaks in equipment and dykes, pipes and roadways.”

Real Examples of Big Data Success

Bernard Marr provides real examples of how big data can make a big difference for Smart Data Collective.  First up, Palantir Technologies is using big data to improve security for fraud and for terrorism.  Another company is using big data to help “teach” machines to think more like humans, for example recognition of images. On to healthcare, Flatiron Health is using big data to analyze terabytes of cancer treatment and diagnosis data reports Mr. Marr.  Finally, Mr. Marr highlights a company that is using facial recognition and videos to determine a person’s moods or feelings. This technology is being used by some big brands to find how people are reacting to their advertising and marketing campaigns.

Uber a New Source of Big Data Insights

Finally, Ron Hirson of Forbes discusses his use of Uber and how Uber is moving from giving rides to a big data warehouse. He writes, “Uber knows where I live, where I work, where I eat, where I travel, where I stay/visit and when I do all these things. I am no longer just a passenger or a fare. I am a big data goldmine and, in case you hadn’t noticed, Uber just broke out the pickaxes.” Uber has already begun to partner with companies to capitalize on their rich data base and Mr. Hirson expects this will continue.

Industry News Round-up: Next-Gen Big Data Analytics

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To keep you on top of the latest and greatest big data technology news, we’ve rounded-up a list of topics in the news. First, read about key priorities that will help facilitate next-generation big data analytics, then why big data can help non-profits and, finally, big data and Oscar picks.

The Big 4 Priorities for Next-Gen Big Data

Scott Gnau of Forbes writes about preparing for the future of big data, “specific advice is tricky, given the variety of applications and use cases out there. So here’s my own attempt to distill things down to four priorities when implementing tomorrow’s big data architectures. Don’t think of these as separate buckets, though. Consider them more like a set of closely interrelated priorities, like signposts along the road to success in creating your own next generation analytics.”  With big data changing fast, he recommends keeping these priorities in mind:

  • Flexibility
  • Access
  • Governance
  • Context

Flexible architectures will help you handle the diverse nature of big data.  Providing access  not only to the data scientists but also to business users is important. When you empower more people, you also need to have governance in place to regulate. Finally, context not only to keep data clean but in some cases protect data privacy.

Big Data and Nonprofits

Nonprofit organizations are also looking to use big data reports Ricky Rlbelro for BizTech Magazine.  Nonprofits can not only utilize big data to build and retain membership or to find and attract new donors, but they can also use big data to determine how their services are being perceived in the public and potentially spot issues before they become too big.

Big Data’s Oscar Picks

So the Oscars have wrapped up for another year. We can debate the merits of the winners and wonder why others didn’t make the cut, but how did big data do with its predictions this year. Steven Zeitchik and Oliver Gettell report for the LA Times, “in recent years, Big Data has attempted to turn art into science. This year such efforts are more prolific than ever — and more relevant, with the battle for best picture.” All three of the data companies interviewed for the article had “Birdman” in the lead for Best Picture which did in fact win. The companies took different approaches. One analyzed the voting body and others used combinations of data from past award ceremonies for their predictions. Just another example of how big data is growing in use – mixing art and science in this case.

Small Business Technology Trends

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Did you know that 7 million of the 10.9 million jobs added since the Great Recession were created by startups and small enterprises? (Forbes/Small Business Administration).  Small businesses around the country are growing and expanding in part to new technologies now even more available to them. Today we will look at some of the top technology trends in 2015 for small businesses.

First, Pam Baker for IT Business Edge writes, “Cloud, mobile and security top the list of technology trends in small business again for the coming year. But this is no business-as-usual report; these trends come with refined twists that pack a wallop. In other words, it’s not just about using cloud and mobile; it’s about data convergence and reimagined work.”

Small businesses are using the cloud in a number of ways:

  • Software as a Service has allowed businesses to access new  software when and as needed versus buying and maintaining a costly package
  • Infrastructure as a Service is getting more attention as businesses see the benefit of being more mobile and also the ability to take advantage of storage and hardware options
  • Cloud services in general are changing the way small businesses approach opportunities by providing greater access to the technology to support growth

Rebecca Bagley of Forbes reports on these small business technology trends to watch for in 2015:

  • 3D printing will enable more small batch manufacturing
  • More big data adoption. In fact, Ms. Bagley reports that a recent IBM study found that 75% of small businesses expect to increase their big data investments
  • Increased use of open application programming interfaces to access Internet of Things (IoT) insights
  • The cloud moves from being just an IT decision to being a critical business decision for a variety of functions

Share what technology trend is or will have the biggest impact on your business in 2015.

A Decade of Technology Predictions

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Today, Steve Ranger of ZDNet leads us through a decade of enterprise technology predictions.

Tech: Short term-investment (1-3 years)

According to Mr. Ranger, study after study shows that when it comes to the near-term CIOs and the enterprise choose the “safe bets.”  These include security, mobile, big data and cloud.  According to a study by Deloitte, Mr. Ranger reports, “many of the technologies that CIOs are piloting and planning to implement in the near future are ones that have been around for quite some time — business analytics, mobile apps, social media and big data tools, for example. Augmented reality and gamification were seen as low-priority technologies.”

Tech: Medium-term investment

For these types of decisions CIOs may look to Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies (graph below). Each new enterprise technology is charted within a specific “hype” phase and then an estimate given for the amount of time before it truly hits the “Plateau of Productivity”.  Note that the “Trough of Disillusionment” is not as negative as it may sound.  Simply put, a new technology reaches the trough when enough users are in the trenches starting to make it really work in the enterprise.

Hype Cycle

Tech: Future Investment – 10 years and beyond

Mr. Ranger turns to the technology futurists for predictions as well as impact to the enterprise.

  • Prediction 1: technology simply blends into the world around us and CIOs will need to sort through and determine how to best utilize
  • Prediction 2: the rise of robots or autonomous machines. CIOs will need to wrestle more between which tasks work best divided among humans and these machines
  • Prediction 3: a new definition of productivity. CIOs will need to determine not just a better process but better outcomes

In closing, Mr. Ranger points out that “CIOs are tempted by an ever-changing array of tech buzzwords through which they must sift in order to find the concepts that are a good fit for their organizations, and that match their budgets, timescales and appetite for risk. Short-term decisions are relatively straightforward, but the further you look ahead, the harder it becomes to predict the winners.”

CIO Resolutions for the New Year

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With January winding down, some of our resolutions seem like mere memories but others are keeping us grounded for the year to come.  So it is for CIOs as well in the coming year, Gartner analysts Mark Raskino and John Mahoney write for Forbes, “in 2015, CIOs are expected to drive more digital business innovation. In order to achieve this, they must gradually elevate their role, and that of the IT organization, to reposition themselves more as an agenda setter.”

Mr. Raskino and Mr. Mahoney lead us through ten CIO resolutions for 2015:

  • Redesign your business on a blank sheet of paper. They suggest thinking way outside the normal boundaries of the CIO role and draw a “brand-new version of your business, based on modern digital capabilities”
  • Stay on top of “scouting” for  tech acquisitions
  • Name your crown jewel enterprise systems. They explain, “Do your systems carry the names of vendor software companies even though your team tailors and adapts them to the enterprise? Claim or reclaim ownership of the key differentiating value that technology systems are providing every day. Assert pride in the fleet”
  • Define your “executive presence”.  How can you best sell and communicate your ideas in the coming year?
  • Encourage 360-degree technology business education
  • Develop storytellers within your organization to “evangelize” your IT story
  • Organize and practice responding to catastrophic scenarios. Mr. Raskino and Mr. Mahoney add, “utilize the discipline of war gaming as an effective tool to prepare for unknown or rapidly evolving situations that have multiple and uncontrollable drivers”
  • Open up your data assets on a “come and play” basis to fuel innovation
  • Exploit the “Maker Movement”. We all have innovative employees, enterprises should embrace and nurture this strength to foster new organizational creativity

Finally, CIOs should take time to keep up-to-date on new technologies.  The Gartner analysts recommend CIOs set aside 5% of their time to research and even experience emerging technologies that could have impact to their industry.

What 2015 CIO resolution above should be the focus at your organization this year?

IT Job Titles of the Future

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Here is a little tidbit on the future of IT job titles from Computerworld. Not just interesting for the job titles but also how new technologies are driving change. Do you see your “future job” listed?

Augmented Reality Designer. Augmented reality can be effective in improving learning and educational experiences. A Gartner analyst notes that AR technologies are now more mature and could be used more commonly in enterprises.

IoT Architect. The Internet of Things architect will be in demand to design and maintain tools that can crunch the massive amounts of data gathered from devices. Computerworld cites a study that predicts 30 billion wirelessly connected devices by 2020 – that is a lot of data to collect and use intelligently.

Marketing Technologist. Gartner’s findings are showing that 81% of organizations with $500 million or more in annual revenue now have a position equivalent to a “chief marketing technologist.” These individuals sort through the ever increasing tech and app options available for marketing and help ensure the tech choice fits the strategy at hand.

Node.js / Scala Developer. Computerworld reports, “Job site shows a spike in demand for both positions starting in 2011, with a sharp climb in 2013.”

DevOps Engineer / Manager. The practice of DevOps is becoming more common in application development and with it a rise in the number of jobs available.

Chief Analytics Data Science Officer. Two word – big data. As big data, IoT and data collecting in general continue to explode and expand higher level leadership is needed to deliver strategy and guidance.

Share your predictions.