What’s going on in the analytics world this week?

Big, Scary Big Data

The New York Times did some “etymological detective work” to resolve the tricky question of who first coined the term “big data” in its current meaning (and some man-in-the street reporting shows that nobody really knows what they current meaning is). 

What we do know is that big data is powerful, and that means it’s also potentially scary. New technology such as Facebook’s Graph Search leads to interesting new opportunities – and some really embarrassing or dangerous possibilities.

In the future, your credit rating might be determined by what you post on social networks. Douglas Merill, Google’s former chief information officer and the founder of ZestFinance—a startup that leverages "big data" to provide credit scoring information—told the New York Times last year that “we feel like all data is credit data, we just don’t know how to use it yet.” This is all the more scary when Bob Lewis of InfoWorld explains why big data can lead to answers that are clear, compelling – and wrong.

Not scared yet? How about this new device, powered by a few hundred standard phone camera chips, that lets authorities observe and track all movements in an entire medium-sized town, in real-time, from the sky:

The flip side of scary data is data that can save lives. Google’s driverless car uses lasers and other sensors — and lots of computer power — to track exactly what’s happening at every moment, as shown in this video. Google thinks that the technology could save around 30,000 lives in the US each year.  Startup SenSen networks is using SAP HANA to track suspect vehicles with a sophisticated “video business analytic” solution. Another startup, AlertEnterprise, uses HANA to combat insider threats at airports


3D Meets Analytics

3D imaging meets dashboards with SAP Visual Enterprise:


iPad Screenshot 5

Gaming company Bigpoint use HANA to ensure Battlestar Galactica Online players stay in the game even after their ship has just been blown up:

SAP HANA Is Music to Execs’ Ears (and Startups)

SAP is helping disrupt business: here’s a nice balanced piece by ASUG about John Deere’s choice of SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA. And HANA is disrupting the world of Governance, Risk, and Compliance with “fraud detection in quasi-real-time." But John Appleby says that’s the easy part, and asks the question: “does SAP have the chops to disrupt itself?”

Part of winning in the future will be persuading more startups to join those already using HANA. Lot of SAP Startup Forums and developer outreach is are being planned for 2013 around the world. And barriers are being steadily lowered to access and test out the new technology. Running it in production can cost as little as a dollar, according to John Appleby (i.e. SAP HANA One for $1/hour, plus $2.50/hour for Amazon, 60Gb Maximum).

Personally, I think we’re just scratching the surface of what is possible. As an example, Lucas Sparvieri explains in detail how to use SAP HANA’s predictive libraries together with the embedded text-analysis algorithms. (Corey Adams and Greg Chase get filtered out in the process!)

Finally, what else can you do with SAP HANA? Set it to music: “HANA is a Winner” with some amazing keyboard skills by SAP Executive Sanjay Poonen:

 Mobile, Social, and Cloud

This week saw the release of the latest Blackberry phones and the Blackberry 10 OS. SAP is one of Blackberry’s partners in the launch, and has been working on mobile financial analytics. SAP CIO Olivier Bussmann is impressed and explains why one thing missing from his office is paper.

big data

What is thought leadership?, asks SAP’s Michael Brenner – although I would add that you also need to answer questions that people don’t YET have…

You’ve heard of private clouds, and public clouds – now, thanks to Dutch artist Berndnaut Smilde, there are indoor clouds (there are real, not photoshopped). Check out his gallery for more.

cloud computing

photo: Cassander Eeftinck Schattenkerk