Wednesday, October 26, 2011

IBM Information on Demand 2011: Day Three (#IODGC)

Day three at the IOD conference in Las Vegas started off with a Big Data focus. The first thing in the morning was the general session which began, as usual with a series of factoids and interesting statistics. The highlights of which, in my opinion, were these:
  • There are over 34,000 Google searches done every second. Which is a huge number, but not unbelieveable....
  • 1 in 3 business leaders make decisions based on data they don't trust. Personally, I think the other 2 are just kidding themselves.
  • Top 2 leadership challenges according to IBM study: increasing complexity and exploding data volume. (Hey, what about small budgets?)
  • And in a survey of IOD conference attendees, 55 percent say that the relationship between business and IT is getting better... let's hope... at some shops it couldn't get any worse, could it?
At any rate, the general session kicked off and Katty Kay of BBC America was the emcee again. She did a great job at hosting today's general session (and yesterday's, too). But I have to say, the general sessions are nowhere near as entertaining as they have been at previous IOD events.
Steve Mills then took the stage. For those who don't know Mr. Mills, he is Senior Vice President and Group Executive - Software and Systems. Mills provided an overview of Big Data from an IBM perspective. Mills kicked things off with a pithy quote saying "Everybody is talking about big data these days, as if data wasn't already big." True... he then went on to outline the big data challenge as the 3Vs: variety, velocity, volume. Not a bad start, but a few Vs short in my opinion... should include vicinity and validity.

Another piece of wisdom from Mills' keynote was this: Big Data is not a single structure, but many structures. He also stated that Big Data must be an integral part of the enterprise data platform...

Mills also discussed various examples of big data solutions that IBM was working with customers on, including my personal favorite, analyzing massive volumes of "space weather" data in motion. But perhaps a more "down to Earth" example can be found in IBM helping to analyze sensor data in offshore oil rigs where more than 2 TB of data is being processed on a daily basis.

Later in the day I attended a panel on customer sentiment analysis. Professor Jonathan Taplin, Director of USC's Annenberg Innovation Lab talked about analyzing social media data to measure customer sentiment around various areas including film, fashion, and even the World Series. The information uncovered helped identify movies that would tank and several film studios began working with the Lab to identify customer sentiment earlier in the cycle. After all, how does it help a movie studeo to learn that a major motion picture is about to tank on the Thursday before it opens? The studios worked with the Lab to learn about negative sentiment earlier so the studios could try to reverse the sentiment through marketing efforts.

There are tremendous spinoff opportunities for this type of sentiment analysis because it gives greater insight into customer behavior. It can potentially be applied to other areas, too, such as measuring employee sentiment, or perhaps citizen sentiment to help predict and uncover events such as the Arab Spring.

The key take away is to realize that this is a different type of data with low latency, real time applications. It is not the type of data that we will be storing long term in databases or data warehouses.

According to Taplin, the next challenge is realtime analysis using IBM's InfoSphere Streams product.

I also attended a fantastic lunch provided by IBM for IBM Champions. Thank you IBM for the nice spread and recognition. I am proud to be an IBM Champion!

Today was also the day of my presentation and I delivered my DB2 for z/OS Performance Tuning Roadmap to a packed audience. I deliver 60 slides in just a little bit over an hour and the presentation seemed to be well received...

The conference ended with a fantastic concert from the band Train. I liked the band before this, but I really like them after the concert! Let me tell you, the lead singer Patrick Monahan has a heckuva set of pipes. The guy can flat out sing. This became abundantly clear not just in their stellar versions of thier hits (like "Meet Virginia", "Calling All Angels", and "Hey, Soul Sister") but also the fantastic cover versions (especially the "Ramble On/Walk On The Wild Side" mashup). Yes, Monahan did the vocals proud and can match Robert Plant note for note. I did not expect that. And their cover of "Dream On" was pretty good, too!

Finally, don't forget to keep checking in on the video blogs I am hosting for SoftBase Systems. Today's blog interview was with advanced SQL expert, Sheryl Larsen. Check it out by clicking here!

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