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Big Data News & Analysis

IBM Buys Denver Startup, Wants to Make Its Supercomputer Even Smarter

IBM has acquired AlchemyAPI, a Denver startup that boasts it makes sense of the world's unstructured data. The company, a pioneer in artificial intelligence-based (AI) text analysis, offers a cloud platform that helps companies analyze text, images and video.

IBM said the buy will give its Watson Group access to machine learning technology. It will also give IBM access to a much bigger, ready-made user base — some 40,000 developers who are already using the AlchemyAPI platform.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. But the purchase is in line with IBM's objective to make its Watson technology more profitable. Watson, a supercomputer, can sift huge amounts of data, learn from the results and respond to spoken questions. 

AlchemyAPI will be used to build cognitive apps, which learn as they interact with people and enhance IBM's objective of creating more human-like computing services.

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The IoT is Useless - Unless You Fix Your Data Problems [Infographic]

Research from ParStream shows the vast majority of businesses are struggling to optimize and take useful insights from all the information the Internet of Things (IoT) provides. Not too surprising, since ParStream is a provider of IoT analytics.

But the study nonetheless shines a spotlight on a problem. Almost all organizations (96 percent) still face challenges with their IoT projects. More than two-thirds of those polled do not have quantifiable metrics to assess the success or failure of their projects, and only eight percent are making full use of their IoT data. About 17 percent capture and store IoT data, but do nothing with it.

Digital Disruption's Unglamourous Side: Digital Governance

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Most global enterprises look to digital transformation as the only way to remain competitive. They also view it as an opportunity to increase multi-channel customer engagement while reducing IT infrastructure costs.

But some enterprises are slow to adapt to today’s technological evolution. While the idea of flying cars is a ways off, the idea of implementing cloud applications and big data analytics shouldn’t be just as far-fetched. A number of reasons explain why some still live in the offline ages, one of the bigger ones being lack of understanding. Why fix what isn't broke?

Everything You Really Need to Know About Docker

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A two-year-old technology is at the spearhead of a genuine revolution in data center architectures, for both software and hardware.

With yesterday's release by the Docker organization of open source tools for orchestrating the deployment of containerized applications anywhere from a data center cluster to a single laptop, the very definition of a business application is changing.

Docker is a means for deploying a Linux program (although it won’t be just Linux for long) on any system. That may not seem like too big a deal, when it’s phrased this simply.

So let me put it this way: It eliminates all the dependencies between a program and the operating system of the processor that hosts it.

This way, you don’t have to install a program to run it.

Instead, a containerized program runs within a virtual machine that contains only the resources that the program requires to run, and those resources can be transported anywhere — thus, the docking container analogy.

As CMSWire writer Virginia Backaitis explained so simply a few months ago, "In non-geek speak, [Docker] is an open platform for distributed applications that makes the lives of developers and sysadmins a lot more pleasurable and easier. It takes away the non-value adding drudgery of your job."

Big Data Bits: Strata + Hadoop World Rewind

Last week was huge in the booming world of big data with vendors simultaneously chasing market share and sharing innovations on the big stage at Strata + Hadoop World in San Jose, Calif.

If you have a big data product or service to sell, there may not be a better opportunity. After all, there’s a captive audience that paid big bucks and committed their time to be there. Attendees genuinely want to hear what you have to say. This is why so many vendor announcements are made at, or around, the conference.

Putting forth the best you have to offer while on the big stage, without sounding like an infomercial or slamming the competition seems to challenge some, though. Here’s the secret, strut your best stuff, your grandest vision and your ability to deliver, and the customers you want to win over will see and hear, only you. Knock a competitor, even if you don’t out rightly name them, and there are two of you sharing the spotlight. Is that what you want customers to remember?

Enough said.

Can the Internet of Things Help You Connect to Higher Profits?

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Businesses that  embrace the Internet of Things (IoT) will be up to 10 percent more profitable by 2025, according to a new study from Verizon (registration required).

Before you rush to make new connections, consider the obvious. Verizon has a vested interest in promoting the IoT. In 2014, the company saw a 45 percent year-over-year revenue growth in its own IoT business — which translated to about $585 million of its $88 billion in revenue in 2014.

Still, the research is interesting.

Verizon, using proprietary data and results of commissioned studies from ABI Research, estimates there were 1.2 billion different devices connected to the Internet last year and that the number will rise to 5.4 billion by 2020 for an annual growth rate of 28 percent.

So how can you tap in to boost your bottom line?

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Are Hortonworks Numbers Better Than You Think?

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When the analysts pore over Hortonworks financial results this morning, company President Herb Cunitz thinks he knows what they will say. Some will note that the Hadoop distro provider beat the street. But others will say it missed the mark when it comes to revenues, as much of the tech press suggested yesterday.

“The street thought we’d come in at $13.5 million and we brought in $16.7 million,” he said.

So why are articles on the web at the moment suggesting that Hortonworks’ fourth quarter revenues were $12.7 million. Fuzzy math?

Not really. It might just be a difference between  GAAP — the acronym for generally accepted accounting principles — and non-GAAP figures, said Cunitz.

IBM Promises a Better Hybrid Cloud at #IBMInterConnect

IBM is making its focus on the hybrid cloud clear at its InterConnect conference in Las Vegas this week.

Big Blue has already announced a series of initiatives, including new releases and new functionality around existing releases, along with news about multiple new data centers. It also revealed plans to move at least half of its cloud development team into is hybrid cloud computing business.

Who Wants an Open Data Platform Anyways?

It turns out that some people do, in fact, want an Open Data Platform.

Despite all of the brouhaha that might have gone down last week, first around Pivotal Software’s Data Event and then at Strata and Hadoop World, some of the vendors and companies that have signed onto the Open Data Platform (ODP) initiative are calling it, “An answer to our Hadoop prayers.” The aforementioned quote comes from Scott Gnau, president of Teradata Labs.

Simon Schmidt, the chief data architect at Union Bank, provided a reason as to why the ODP — a tested reference core of open source Apache Hadoop, Apache Ambari and related Apache source artifacts — was vital for an enterprise like his.

“We can’t maintain an internal staff to do all the testing, compatibility testing and researching of every piece of technology that comes along,” he said, adding that “having some industry people backing these things, giving us the type of indemnification that we require make this (a big data platform) a viable option for us for the long term.”

That statement, perhaps, answers the question that Gartner Analyst Nick Heudecker posed when we interviewed him shortly after the ODP announcement. ”It’s not clear who’s asking for this.”

8 Tech Trends You Need To Know

Digital. Analytics. The cloud. The renaissance of core systems. The changing role of IT within the enterprise.

What do they have in common? They're the five macro forces that continue to drive enormous transformation, according to Deloitte’s recently released sixth Technology Trends report.This year's annual report digs into eight current technology trends, ranging from the impact connectivity and analytics are having on digital marketing to the evolving role of the CIO.

Within the next two years, "each of these trends could potentially disrupt the way businesses engage their customers, how work gets done, and how markets and industries evolve," according to Deloitte's CTO Bill Briggs and Craig Hodgetts, US National Managing Director, Technology.

Does Hadoop Need Saving?

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It was a big week for big data in Silicon Valley where O’Reilly’s Strata & Hadoop World Conference is ending today. The star of the show might have been data scientist Vijay Subramanian of Rent the Runway whose company rents Oscar-worthy gowns (that most of us can’t afford to buy) for our one-night-only Cinderella moments. Or maybe it was data scientist Noelle Sio of Pivotal Labs who volunteered at CrisisTextLine which helps connect teens in trouble with the volunteer counselors who might help them. Or possibly President Barack Obama who streamed in via video to introduce DJ Patil as the United States’ Chief Data Scientist. Never mind all the vendors like Microsoft and MapR who made some impressive announcements.

But instead the halls were filled with talk about the news that Pivotal Software made when it open sourced the components of its big data suite (which we predicted and is unquestionably good news for everyone) and announced the Open Data Platform (ODP), an initiative that brings together GE, Hortonworks, IBM, Infosys, Pivotal, SAS, AltiScale, Capgemini, CenturyLink, EMC, Splunk, Verizon Enterprise Solutions, Teradata, and VMware (and is open to other companies that want to join).

Big Data for Geeks and Non-Geeks, Thanks Microsoft

Microsoft aims to do one thing better than anyone else: bring the power of productivity tools, big data, machine learning and data driven insight to both every day Jacks and Jills and geeks, and makes it look simple. How does it propose to do that? There’s Bing that tells Cortana who will win the World Cup and the Super Bowl, Delve that surfaces the content that’s most relevant to you without your needing to ask, Power BI that puts data driven insights and impressive, informative viz’s at your fingertips, Hadoop and machine learning delivered in the cloud, on premises and even on a silver platter (OK, maybe we’re going a bit too far). 

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