IT giant gears for new era of non-stop data
Move to ensure efficient services, control on 3rd-generation IT platform
"In the very near future, every object on Earth will be generating big data, including our homes, our cars, and, yes, even our bodies."
"It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the amounts of data we're exposed to. Our 15th century counterparts experienced less data in their entire lifetime than we do in a single day."
"Our smart devices are turning each of us into human sensors.
"We're now leaving a trail of digital exhausts behind us, a perpetual stream of texts, locations, data and other information that will live on forever…," says the Human Face of Big Data, a landmark book authored by Rick Smolan and Jennifer Erwitt, and co-sponsored by US-based EMC Corp and other IT giants.
The book exemplifies how the huge amounts of data will be changing the way we live, work, play etc, the interactions of which will unfold unprecedented forms of human-to-human or human-to-machine relationships.
To take advantage of this emerging trend, Joe Tucci, chairman and CEO of EMC whose revenues topped US$21.7 billion last year, told the EMC World 2013 conference in Las Vegas early this month that it's necessary for EMC to deliver efficiency, control, choice and agility to its customers.
The world is entering a new era of so-called third-generation IT platform that can support billions of mobile device users, cloud computers, and social media, according to Tucci.
Today, smart-phones and tablet computers are ubiquitous in most parts of the world so are users of Google, Facebook, Tweeters and the likes.
As a key player in the global IT eco-system, EMC has built its portfolio of brands to reach a new height. Today, the conglomerate consists of VMware, RSA and a new unit, Pivotal whose shareholders include EMC, Vmware and GE.
Pivotal is positioned as a new platform for next-generation cloud computers as well as big and fast-data applications. Over the past year, Tucci said the firm spent 12 per cent of its revenue on R&D plus another 10 per cent on investment via mergers and acquisitions.
Paul Maritz, CEO of Pivotal, said at the same event that the new generation of apps will exploit the big and fast data in real time, while enjoying the independence in cloud computing to facilitate the delivery of new services.
The third-generation IT platform is consumer-grade and will offer new experiences to consumers, according to Maritz.
It will promote the adoption of new business models which have already been pioneered by consumer internet giants such as Google, Facebook, Amazon store and Yahoo.
These giants have set a new benchmark for IT-facilitated services and commerce as their system and infrastructure could analyse massive data in split seconds to respond to consumer needs in real time.
For other businesses to have comparable capabilities, they would need a new application fabric, a new data fabric and data centres that can analyse very large amounts of data and allow the rapid development of apps.
For Google, Facebook or Amazon, they have built their own platform. Now, it's time for others to deliver the comparable services and consumer experiences.
For example, Google's search service is highly efficient, allowing users to search for information on virtually any topic and get meaningful answers in a matter of seconds.
This can be done from any desktop or mobile devices anytime or anywhere in the world where Internet or Wifi connections are available.
According to Maritz, GE's airline engine business is another example which may take advantage of the real-time capability to process big data. If the 30 terrabytes of data per jet engine could be processed instantly, it would be possible to analyse the conditions of each engine in real time.
Once such a massive data management system is made perfect, it will eliminate the need to inspect numerous engine parts physically after the engine has been used for 2,000 hours since the system, facilitated by numerous internal sensors, can be expected to detect problems in advance.
Such a smart system is possible when there are capabilities for rapid app development, ingesting huge number of events and reaction in real time.
This also means the instant interactions with the existing legacy apps and infrastructure that allows scalability with choices of private, public or hybrid cloud computers.
In other words, it will be the era of automation of app provisioning and life cycle and cloud portability.
Another example would the alliances among banks, retailers and telecom firms to exploit big and fast data in real time. This will allow retailers to tap shoppers while they are inside the shopping malls using the customers' location, banking, and purchasing data.
When a shopper is close to a retail outlet, a promotion alert may pop up on his or her mobile device offering special discounts.
David Goulden, EMC's president and COO said EMC has adopted the so-called top-up strategy to gain market shares and invest for the future as evidenced by the huge R&D spending (12 per cent of revenues) and the massive budget for M&As (10 per cent of revenues.
David Webster, EMC's president of Asia Pacific and Japan, said big data and analystics are growing rapidly in the post-PC era marked by billions of users of apps on Iphones and Android devices.
By 2020, 29 per cent of data will be from China and India while 45 per cent of world internet users will be in Asia Pacific and Japan.
Today, about 200 billion devices are connected and 2.4 billion people use the Internet, according to Webster.