Rabuck: 4 Megatrends in BI

The eWEEK corporate partner adviser discusses the "next wave of technologies that will be tsunami in size."

Fran Rabuck is a longtime observer and participant in the information technology business. Rabuck is a member of the eWEEK corporate partner advisory board and is president of Philadelphia-based Rabuck Associates. He discussed business intelligence trends with Eric Lundquist.

"We mixed, mashed and ETL [extract, transform, load] our data to make nice little data warehouses. Our customers sliced, diced, graphed and analyzed all of this—all by themselves. Now what? Get ready for the next wave of technologies that will be tsunami in size—and probably not what you expected. Four key technology trends are sure to challenge your data teams in the future when it comes to creating business intelligence. The four meagtrends in BI are: (1) Geospatial, (2) Collaborative B2B things, (3) the 4th Utility and (4) Media Madness."

Geospatial—"When Google purchased Keyhole and the whole GoogleEarth was suddenly exposed—everyone took notice. Now mashing of data and geography has become a growing hobby. Beyond the hobby aspects, GoogleEarth and a slew of other Geospatial products are creating a BI goldmine for organizations to dig into. Geography creates a whole new platform for business intelligence. It also creates new problems. How do you map and mine documentation? How do you integrate different coordinate systems? How do you merge a Building CAD file correctly onto a world background map? Some companies like Bentley Systems have managed to work this magic and allow humans to store and access information within a Geospatial Map. "With a library of over 4,000 coordinate systems and the ability to spatially index any document type with the location automatically determined based on inherent coordinate systems—it almost seems like magic. But it isnt—its Geo-Intelligence. If youre interested in tracking the developments in this area—you need to watch the standards developing at the Open Geospatial Consortium."

Collaborative B2B "things"—"To paraphrase an old cliché, Mi informaticus es su informaticus. With the advent of RFID mandates and more coming, end-to-end supply chain visibility is becoming a new business requirement. Its scary when pharmaceutical companies only have a beginning and end point data view of their products. Thats changing. And soon the EPC Global Network will begin testing. Some call this movement the Internet of Things. The real story is the sharing of information across businesses. Thats more than business intelligence—thats business visibility."

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The 4th Utility—"Thats the name of the concept that some in the Building, Construction and Real Estate market are using to describe Intelligent Buildings of the future. All IP-based, all-connected. Current building systems are silos of information with disconnected architectures like BACnet, LonWorks, ModBus and others. Its a mess. After 9/11, it became obvious to a lot of people that security systems might need to be viewed in relation to HVAC systems. In fact all Building Systems need to be controlled and coordinated from a single viewpoint.


"Thats why smart, old school companies like Honeywell snatched up small integration companies like Tridium. Tridium invented the Niagara Framework—a software architecture that integrates diverse systems and devices. Its agnostic to manufacturer and communication protocols. And all of this data is going IP. You now will be able to combine enterprise application data with Internet-enable building products. Think of the possibilities. Even wireless mesh architectures like ZigBee are creating links to other systems like BACnet.

"Organizations like FIATECH are working on problems related to the full lifecycle of a building and its construction. Projects like AEX are driving specifications to support automation of information sharing from design, procurement, delivery, operation and maintenance of capital facilities equipment (http://www.fiatech.org/—scroll down to the bottom right side and youll see the Intelligent & Automated Construction JobSite—that Im co-chairing).

"Whats the cost today of the lack of interoperability of this "business intelligence" in the capital facilities industry? According to a research study by NIST, yearly estimates are close to $16 billion in the U.S. alone. Thats not intelligent business.

Media Madness—"iPod, YouTube and other casting and sharing technologies are just the beginning. As the tools for capturing, creating, editing audio and video content continue to accelerate—more people in your organization will begin to become aspiring Spielbergs. Even more people outside your organization will begin to Media-ize about you. This past week Adobe acquired Serious Magic, one of the premier tools for creating desktop video that allows anyone to produce a newsroom-like video at their desktop with just a simple camera and a mic. Simple storage of this technology is just the first part of your problem in gathering this intelligence.

"Now comes the hard part—how do you search and mine rich data. Google and others have discovered that text tagging just isnt enough. Companies like Blinkx (licensed by Microsoft two weeks ago), TVEyes, and Project Venice are working on ways to interpret and mine this rich data and convert it into searchable data. When you say BI to TVEyes—they think "broadcast intelligence." Congratulations go out to eWEEK for their launch of eVideo this week. In another two to five years after they assembled a massive library of these vidcasts, someone will want to go digging to find one particular gem buried in the collection—and it will be Erics problem to find it."

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