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Post Tagged with: Big Data News

Apple’s Acquisition of Topsy Could be a Great Move

Apple’s Acquisition of Topsy Could be a Great Move

Apple has recently acquired Topsy Labs, a San Francisco based analytics firm, for $200 million. The Indian owned firm specializes in analyzing tweets and has an archive of over 400 billion tweets, starting from 2006 when Twitter was first launched. It also has a searchable database of all tweets ever sent, something that even Google doesn’t have, because of its partnership with Twitter.

topsyTopsy Labs was formed in 2007 by Vipul Ved Prakash, Rishab Aiyer Ghosh, Gary Iwatani and Justin Foutts. It collects and analyzes huge amount of data generated everyday on Twitter and allows its customers to make sense of all the noise. This buy could be a great move for Apple depending on how they use Topsy.

Apple hasn’t commented on what they intend to use Topsy for, but it is clear that with such a powerful tool, they have a lot of opportunities in front of them. Kristin Huguet, a spokesperson for Apple Inc, confirmed the acquisition but did not reveal Apple’s plans for Topsy.

“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” Huguet said.

The Opportunities for Apple

The most obvious use is to get feedback about their products and services and market their products in a better way. They could also analyze key players on social networks and use them to spread the word about their services.

dataTopsy has developed many state of the art systems to deal with such huge amount of data obtained from social networks. They have filed patents for many systems and methods for customizing filtering and predictive crawling of social media. Apple could use this technology to analyze the data that they have been collecting through their devices and app store.

They could use it to improve the search feature of Siri, providing users with better search results by analyzing what recommendations their friends made on Twitter. Twitter is the most used social media platform on smart phones and getting access to all of its data along with the ability to analyse it, is definitely a great opportunity.

Competing with Google

Google has been trying to make their search engine more personalized based on data gathered from social media. Now Apple has a very strong tool to do the same. Both companies are spending big money on acquisitions in order to maintain their edge in the rapidly changing world of information technology. Apple spent $496 million in their last fiscal year on acquisitions while Google spent a whopping $1.4 billion.

Is Big Data a Threat to Your Privacy?

Is Big Data a Threat to Your Privacy?

Big Data is growing bigger every day and along with it the concern over invasion of privacy is also growing. Tracking all the data generated by your mobile and other devices and your interactions on social media, is beneficial for advertisers to tailor their ads to suit you. But there’s more to the story than that. Companies have now begun to come up with very creative ways to use real time data.

Let’s look at some interesting examples.

Smart Rubbish Bins in London

An advertising firm in London came up with the idea to use strategically placed dustbins to track the wifi signal of phones of the people passing by. They could use the serial number of the phones to track the movement of every individual. They could then use this data to show advertisements on the screen of these bins, that are targeted at the person passing by.

smartbins

Now even dustbins are becoming smart!

The officials have asked Renew, the responsible ad firm, to take down the smart dustbins as there has been a lot of concern about the invasion of privacy of the people.

Police Cars in Australia get Number Plate Recognition Cameras

The Aussies have come up with another great use of Big Data by using number plate recognition cameras that can read multiple number plates simultaneously and also search their database to find out all the information about that driver. They can tell if a car is stolen or if you have unpaid parking tickets just by looking at your car’s number plate.

police car

The hand of the law gets longer.

Are Such Examples a Threat to Your Privacy?

When CCTV cameras first came on the scene, the public responded to them with an outrage similar to what we see now in terms of Big Data. But once people got used to the new technology and saw the benefits in solving crimes and catching miscreants swiftly, the fears of Big Brother always watching them subsided.

The truth is that people will allow collection of any data as long as it is collected with their permission and it is used to create value for them. Instead of shoving ads in people’s faces, companies should try to find other ways to use Big Data, not only to reduce costs for the company but also to provide quality to the customer.

One great example to highlight the creative use of Big Data is the potential for insurance companies. Today all natural or man made calamities generate a lot of data in the social media.

data

Data about Hurricane Sandy

Insurance companies can use this data along with before and after images on Google Maps Street View, Flickr, Instagram etc. to find out how much destruction of property their clients have suffered.

torn houseThey can estimate the number and amount of claims that they will have to deal with. They can provide quick claim settlements to their customers which will be appreciated by all and people will readily agree to data collection if they are told of such rewards.

Great Opportunities

A Westpac survey showed that it only took 30 months for mobile usage to reach 1 Million as compared to 80 months it took for online usage to reach the 1 Million mark.

graphThis means that there are great opportunities available to use this rapidly growing Big Data but it will have to be done with care and while keeping the interests of the consumer in mind.

All Are Valuable Members of Hadoop Community says Cloudera CEO

All Are Valuable Members of Hadoop Community says Cloudera CEO

Within three months of his taking over the leadership of the company, CEO Cloudera Tom Reilly has already visualized where the company is headed.

Cloudera CEO Tom ReillyAccording to him, one needs to have a strong and far-sighted vision for the company if it is to compete against the likes of Hortonworks and MapR for a share of the pie in the highly evolving Hadoop market.

Despite the tough competition, Reilly remains a well wisher for his rivals, whom he views as valuable members of the Hardoop community. His message to his employees is also the same – consider all your competitors as valuable contributors for the success of the community.

Interestingly, Reilly credits Hortonworks, one of the fellow startups and rivals, for driving the development of YARN, which has provided the much needed impetus to every major player in Hardoop.

He also affirmed that the real competition his company faces is from information giants such as Pivotal and IBM, and not other start up rivals.

Cloudera’s CEO was a little shy in sharing details about the change of focus of his company. He has kept the details safe for a public announcement during the Hadoop World conference to be held next week.

Nevertheless, industry watchers estimate that Reilly’s plans for Cloudera are bigger than before. He doesn’t want the company to become just another Hadoop distribution company. With an ever growing list of features and over 700 partners, he aims to make it a data giant that delivers real value to enterprises.

When confronted on the question of Hortonworks luring away Spotify from Cloudera, Reilly has altogether a different take. He confesses that the development surely hurt from a public relations perspective, but it’s not something that will pull the company’s shoulders down.

All Are Valuable Members of Hadoop Community says Cloudera CEO

He explained that Spotify wanted a comprehensive enterprise support and was no longer interested in making use of the free version of Cloudera’s software. Along with Hortonworks, his company too listed a price for the deal. However, Hortonworks managed to put up a slightly better contract and Cloudera didn’t try to match it intentionally, claiming it didn’t make good business sense for them.

Reilly appears too outlandish when he states that the deal didn’t matter much to them and Spotify only managed to earn a low priced vendor with this contract. But deep within, Reilly knows that in order to make his company ride towards profitability, he needs to turn out better than his competitors.

Experts believe that even though Cloudera has a lot on its platter, the 800 pound Hardoop startup can’t distance itself from the present competition.

Unless the company takes a big leap to stand in line with information giants, it will have to live with the image of a Hardoop startup.

IBM Launches Accelerated Discovery Lab for Big Data Apps

IBM Launches Accelerated Discovery Lab for Big Data Apps

IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, CaliforniaColossal data volumes and confidential business information are stored in massive data centers all across the globe. The Technology Giant, IBM Research has developed a new and one-of-its-kind lab. It has been named the ADL (Accelerated Discovery Lab). It aims to find ways to make use of
Big Data for various purposes.

Technological world today relies heavily on Big Data and therefore ADL has been developed to find relevant connections amongst these huge sets of data, to be used for analytical purposes, etc.  According to IBM Fellow and Director of Technology and Operations, Laura Haas, “IBM is focusing on the four V’s of data, namely volume, velocity, variety and veracity.”

According to her, tackling big data challenges isn’t easy and businesses around the globe would require the expertise to achieve the desired means. Apparently, getting better and finer insights from big data is what IBM researchers are currently focused at.

The ADL Lab will be set at the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California. The main target of the company will be the clients who understand the value of Big Data but need help dealing with it. Michelle Zhou is amongst the team of researchers at IBM’s lab and will have about 15 projects running at a time.