I know the Terminator mythology dictates that Skynet is a military system, but personally, I think we might want to keep tabs on IBM.
Everyone knows about Watson, which topped PC Magazine’s “Five Real Computer Systems That Could Become Skynet” list back in 2011. And we know IBM is putting Watson to work in new, more commercial ways.
But a recent CMSWire article, “Has IBM Just Changed the Big Data Analytics Market?” only adds to my suspicions.
IBM announced this week it would offer a new type of Big Data solution — the Accelerated Discovery Lab (ADLab), which is based in IBM’s Almaden facility in San Jose.
Laura Haas, technical lead for ADLab, described it as “creating a plug-and-play environment” for facilitating Big Data’s discovery process. She told the Silicon Valley Business Journal that a customer survey found the biggest obstacle to Big Data analytics was making the data usable.
Then without so much as a nod to false humility, she added this “was really low-hanging fruit for us to bring our resources together to help out.”
Are you starting to see my point about Skynet?
The ADLab will give IBM customers access to an entire Big Data research lab, without having to buy or build one, according to David Roe of CMSWire.
“And IBM is really offering everything here,” writes Roe. “Using the IBM approach, enterprises will have not just top-end tools, but also a wide set of perspectives offered by this vast network of experts that offer different contexts and draw new value in new ways from data.”
That means access to:
- A “huge” number of data sources
- Domain models
- Text analytics combined with natural language processing capabilities developed around the Watson project
- Human expertise in biology, medicine, weather modeling, finance, etc.
Hey, why grow a data scientist when you can borrow one, right?
The ADLab has established expertise in drug discovery, social media analytics and predictive maintenance, but IBM also wants to add materials science, according to eeTimes.
You can see why that’s a major shift for Big Data — or it could be. We still don’t have details about cost, availability, limitations, or any of the things that could make this a completely unpractical option for many companies. Stay tuned….
Meanwhile, in a cloud far away… While IBM is busy changing the whole “Big Data” challenge, a new analytics startup intends to solve all of our cloud data silo problems, according to Venture Beat.
Honestly, I don’t usually care that much about start-ups, because who knows what will stick and what won’t. This is particularly true in the cloud, especially since so many companies are already offering integration tools and solutions.
But Numerify seems different for a couple of reasons. First, Numerify is specifically working to solve the growing problem of merging and integrating data from different on- and off-premise data sources. While there are connectors and such to deal with that now, there really isn’t a one-solution-fixes-all option. In fact, a lot of hand-coding is still going on with cloud integration.
Second, and most importantly, the company has closed an $8 million Series A funding round and has additional contributions from these Silicon heavyweights:
- Amit Singh, president of Google Enterprise
- Frank Slootman, chief executive of ServiceNow
- Deep Nishar, senior vice president of products and user experience at LinkedIn
- James Ramsey, former executive vice president of sales at NetSuite
- Abhay Parasnis, a former senior vice president of product development at Oracle
Numerify was founded by Oracle veterans Gaurav Rewari and Srikant Gokulnatha, both of whom worked extensively with business intelligence.