Does Your Data Have a “Best Before” Date?

Today I presented as part of a webinar about real-time streaming analytics alongside Forrester analyst Mike Gualtieri. He described how streaming analytics differs from traditional analytics where data is collected, loaded into an analytics engine and analyzed after some period of time.

chips-exp-dateI was intrigued by Mike’s characterization of the “perishability” of information, that is, how much opportunity for insight is lost as different kinds of events age. Equating this observation to everyday life, I bet you don’t usually check the expiration date on a bag of chips. But if you’re like me you do glance at the stamp on milk, and if the date is coming up you’ll give that gallon a sniff before pouring it all over your Lucky Charms.

Which events in your business have long shelf lives, and which ones become useless before you can identify what happened or have a chance to act?

Everything depends on context, of course, and streaming analytics introduces many new opportunities for insight and action.… Read the rest


That Pre-Crime Idea from Minority Report? It’s Happening Now

predict and prevent crime with technologyAlmost daily, we are seeing real-time data and all of its associated technologies being used in creative ways that benefit society. You’ve probably seen stories of smart cities sprouting up all over the world, as communities seek to live more efficiently, and the Internet of Things has been touted as a key new asset in the fight against climate change.

In an effort to make its streets safer, police in Indianapolis have integrated their crime databases, automated real-time crime feeds and built visualization dashboards that can automatically connect the dots in ways you’ve seen in the movies and on television shows for years. But instead of the gritty street-wise cop piecing the details together, it will be the analytics engine and the data feeds doing the crime fighting.  In the Indianapolis use case, since the data is shared across police departments, many communities are sharing the benefits, which are numerous and potentially game-changing for the future of local law enforcement.… Read the rest


Never File Taxes Again

taxes-smallIt sounds too good to be true, but the UK has a plan to scrap paper tax returns in favor of digital tax accounts that are regularly updated with the government. The basic idea is that by linking up government systems with business accounting systems, bank statements and employer payment information, individuals and businesses will true up their tax obligations at more regular intervals without the burden of a yearly pilgrimage to their accountant. Trials will begin in 2016 and be available to anyone by 2020.

Countries around the world are looking for ways to make tax collection more efficient and less of a burden on their citizens. If this is even modestly successful, you can bet even those that don’t already have similar projects in the works will take note and follow suit.

This is another great example of how real-time information is changing decades-old business processes, and proves that nothing is safe from change.… Read the rest

6 markets being revolutionized by real-time streaming data

It seems like forever ago that Pointcast introduced us to the first incarnation of so-called “push” technology. But aside from stock prices through online brokerages, the real-time streaming of content didn’t really take off until very recently. Even today, many people still refresh their browser to see if they’ve been outbid on eBay and reload the sports scores on their smartphone to see if their team held on for the win.

There are three key factors driving recent, rapid increases in the production and consumption of real-time data:

  • Changes in technology – For years, developers have worked around the limitations of browsers and HTML by building thick clients or using COMET to clumsily force data changes into browser applications. The emerging HTML5 standard (with the backing of Google, Apple and Microsoft) will make real-time data a first class citizen over the internet. At the same time, turnkey infrastructure that integrates back end systems all the way through to browsers and mobile devices is simplifying development and deployment of these applications.
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