Last week we saw the rebranding of Strata + Hadoop World as the new Strata Data Conference. This name change reflects the nature of the content, which is decreasingly about specific Hadoop projects and increasingly about how to get analytics value from any data anywhere. Beyond that, the show reinforced several key themes I've been predicting for some time.
First, machine learning was front and center. Most keynotes talked about it. Most vendors talked about it. Most attendees wanted to learn more about it. The trend toward machine learning as the future of big data was called out in this blog from last fall. A few new developments around making it easier include Cloudera's Data Science Workbench, Pentaho's machine learning orchestration, Google's Machine Learning Engine, and Anodot's entire focus on business-oriented ML insights.
Second, the major players are filling in gaps with partnerships, OEMs, and outright acquisitions of key technologies. Witness the Dell EMC Analytic Insight Module, which embeds Zaloni for governance, BlueTalon for security, and Attivio for a semantic data catalog. The new Google Cloud DataPrep (Beta) is Trifacta under the hood. SAP bought Altiscale's whole big data-as-a-service cloud offering. There are too many niche companies in the segment, and consolidation is inevitable because it solves more of the platform integration headaches for buyers, and also because it makes the big fishes' portfolios more complete and compelling.
Third, big data is moving beyond the most common use cases like optimizing resource utilization, targeted marketing, and fraud prevention. While saving money or making money is necessary to justifiy technology investment and innovation, it's not everything. Now there are a range of use cases focus on the greater good, like:
- 90% accurate cancer diagnosis (with Intel AI)
- 1,000x faster image recognition for sex crime detection (with MemSQL)
- Identification of fake news for better journalism (at Reuters)
- Ensuring robots do not repeat the biases of the human world (with Silicon Valley Robotics)
- Winning sports games through video analytics (with Second Spectrum)
Ok, so these may still have a profound financial impact (especially the last one), but the point stands that the technologies and strategies showcased at the Strata Data Conference can make the world a better place to be. Isn't that nice?
Drop me a line if you'd like to hear more....