LAS VEGAS: More data than ever is flowing through public and private networks, offering huge benefits for businesses of all sizes, according to IBM director of product strategy, Bernie Spang.
"The changing nature of storage is changing the nature of business. The first generation of storage was just about putting information in a database, then it was about using analytics to predict 'what if' scenarios, but now it's all about real-time operational intelligence," he told V3.co.uk at IBM's Information OnDemand event.
"It's about using data streaming through the network to make decisions instantly that can bring huge benefits to major industries."
Spang cited smart metering for energy and traffic management as examples of using time-stamped information to provide more efficient services. The idea is a key element of IBM's Smarter Planet initiative.
"A shockingly low percentage of energy sent over the grid is actually used, as the energy companies don't know what's needed or where, so they just put it out regardless. But if they knew where and when it's needed, they could send the right amount," he said.
"For traffic management you could have a system automatically changing when traffic lights come on based on traffic levels, or have it send alerts to those in charge, even to their mobile devices using the new Cognos 10 mobile interface."
Spang claimed that IBM's TimeSeries tool, recently added to the latest release of Informix 11.7 database software, will help more businesses to benefit from this new type of data.
"Pulses of information sent over the system could be hard to analyse with traditional software, so we added TimeSeries to give organisations the ability to better understand and use this data," he said.
The pedigree of data is also important, according to Spang, and organisations need to ensure that they are working from a "single version of the truth" when making decisions based on the data.
"You need quality metrics to flag up whether data is still valid, and that's why we've added features to the Infosphere Information Server to provide this," he said.
However, Spang warned that some companies fail to understand the potential of the current data explosion.
"There is awareness among some enterprises, but most don't realise that there is so much information out in the world they could take advantage of to help them better serve customers, reduce fraud and stop losing customers," he said.
"It's a big thing to jump into this area, but it can be done one stage at a time, adding different layers of products as you go."
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