Next in my discussion of big data providers is IBM. Big data plays right into IBM’s portfolio of solutions in the information management space. It also dove tails very nicely with the company’s Smarter Planet strategy. Smarter Planet holds the vision of the world as a more interconnected, instrumented, and intelligent place. IBM’s Smarter Cities and Smarter Industries are all part of its solutions portfolio. For companies to be successful in this type of environment requires a new emphasis on big data and big data analytics.
Here’s a quick look at how IBM is positioning around big data, some of its product offerings, and use cases for big data analytics.
According to IBM, big data has three characteristics. These are volume, velocity, and variety. IBM is talking about large volumes of both structured and unstructured data. This can include audio and video together with text and traditional structured data. It can be gathered and analyzed in real time.
IBM has both hardware and software products to support both big data and big data analytics. These products include:
- Infosphere Streams – a platform that can be used to perform deep analysis of massive volumes of relational and non-relational data types with sub-millisecond response times. Cognos Real-time Monitoring can also be used with Infosphere Streams for dashboarding capabilities.
- Infosphere BigInsights – a product that consists of IBM research technologies on top of open source Apache Hadoop. BigInsights provides core installation, development tools, web-based UIs, connectors for integration, integrated text analytics, and BigSheets for end-user visualization.
- IBM Netezza – a high capacity appliance that allows companies to analyze pedabytes of data in minutes.
- Cognos Consumer Insights- Leverages BigInsights and text analytics capabilities to perform social media sentiment analysis.
- IBM SPSS- IBM’s predictive and advanced analytics platform that can read data from various data sources such as Netezza and be integrated with Infosphere Streams to perform advanced analysis.
- IBM Content Analytics – uses text analytics to analyze unstructured data. This can sit on top of Infosphere BigInsights.
At the Information on Demand (IOD) conference a few months ago, IBM and its customers presented many use cases around big data and big data analytics. Here is what some of the early adopters are doing:
- Engineering: Analyzing hourly wind data, radiation, heat and 78 other attributes to determine where to locate the next wind power plant.
- Analyzing social media data, for example to understand what fans are saying about a sports game in real time.
- Analyzing customer activity at a zoo to understand guest spending habits, likes and dislikes.
- Analyzing healthcare data:
- Analyzing streams of data from medical devices in neonatal units.
- Healthcare Predictive Analytics. One hospital is using a product called Content and Predictive analytics to understand limit early hospital discharges which would result in re-admittance to the hospital
IBM is working with its clients and prospects to implement big data initiatives. These initiatives generally involve a services component given the range of product offerings IBM has in the space and the newness of the market. IBM is making significant investments in tools, integrated analytic accelerators, and solution accelerators to reduce deployment time and cost to deploy these kinds of solutions.
At IBM, big data is about the “the art of the possible.” According to the company, price points on products that may have been too expensive five years ago are coming down. IBM is a good example of a vendor that is both working with customers to push the envelope in terms of what is possible with big data and, at the same time, educating the market about big data. The company believes that big data can change the way companies do business. It’s still early in the game, but IBM has a well-articulated vision around big data. And, the solutions its clients discussed were big, bold, and very exciting. The company is certainly a leader in this space.