Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cloud, Mobile, Big Data and Other Buzzwords - This Too Shall Pass ? Not Really, They are Here, and They are Real

IT industry's constant drumbeat of Cloud, Mobile, Big Data can be somewhat abstract and sound too far removed from reality for many seasoned, hardened and perhaps cynical IT professionals who went through many overhyped non-events ( CASE revolution, Y2K scare, OODBMS, Grid Computing, XYZ Methodology that will change everything ... ). 
Yet, I think IT pros are well advised not to overlook latest developments in Big Data, Cloud and Mobile arenas as something substantially new is happening. 
Here is another example of how converging Cloud, Mobile and Big Data technologies can help provide new business insights and increase profits:  applications that keep track of shopper behavior inside physical stores. Vendords like RetailNext or Euclid Analytics provide applications that  gather location data from your smartphone and other sources ( video ) the moment you enter the store, process the data ( possibly combined with data coming from other sources like POS, loyalty and payment cards )  in the Cloud ( AWS, for example ) and deliver analytic reports, dashboards and mobile applications. Possible improvements come from staffing, floor plan optimizations, improved marketing and customer experiences, etc. 
This type of applications is perfectly suited for Cloud as data 100% lives in the Cloud. It originates in the Cloud ( smartphone, physical stores ), must be transferred to Cloud data processing service and results are delivered to Cloud/Mobile consumers. It is brick-and-mortar store version of what e-commerce sites like Amazon do to maximize customer experience and profits. It is potentially another milestone event in Big Data world,  since most of shopping ( over 90% ) is still traditional, 'walk-in' retail. What we today classify as Big Data computing originated and is still somewhat limited to relatively small number of purely Internet companies like eBay, Amazon ( in retail space ), or Google, Facebook, Yahoo ( in search or web application space ). In-store Analytics will change this as all major retailers will have to embrace it.   

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