Big Data @ EMC CIO Summit 2014

During the EMC CIO Connect Summit in Istanbul, international experts spoke about three big issues which concern EMC and the IT Industry the most: Cloud & Virtualization, Big Data, and Security & Availability. Here’s what was discussed in the Big Data Track at the EMC CIO Connect Summit 2014 in Istanbul.

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After the Keynotes earlier that day (Mohammed Amin shared his thoughts on them with us) the EMC CIO Connect Summit 2014 in Istanbul divided into three different interactive breakout sessions. Big Data was one of them. The central statements of our experts were:

  • Big Data as a Service
  • Big Data and the Technological Requirements
  • Big Data for the Social Good
  • Big Data in and its Value

Within all these tracks the Experts referred widely to Garnter’s definition of Big Data which states: “Big data is high volume, high velocity, and/or high variety information assets that require new forms of processing to enable enhanced decision making, insight discovery and process optimization.”

Big Data as a service

Turkcell uses customer data to provide a traffic map.
Turkcell uses customer data to provide a traffic map.

As a starting example during the first breakout session, it was shown how Big Data is already being put to good use. Turkcell is the cell phone market leader in Turkey and they gather a lot of Data from their customers to improve and enhance services. However, Turkcell not only has heavy information about when, whom and from where their subscribers call. One third of their clients is identified exactly, meaning they know everything from gender to age and address. That allows them to create intelligent and interactive maps using this information – for example Turkcell can provide a very accurate map about the traffic in Istanbul, all in real-time of course.

Not only could Turkcell sell that information. It shows that many Businesses can use Big Data Applications for their own good – even Doctors or teachers or the retailing business. It can also provide new business models and joint ventures. Obviously, the legal rights of selling customers’ data was quickly questioned by the attendees of the session. And it’s true: normally there are very strict rules about it so providing raw material is mainly impossible. That is why companies share only the analyzed and incognito data with at least 60,000 people in a target group in order to remove the ability to identify or track down a single person.

Technology Requirements

Will Schipp from Pivotal described Big Data as follows: “Processed food is bad for you. Processed data can be either.” The very important thing whilst working with Big Data is that you really have raw material in your Data Lake.

Will Schipp from pivotal is describing the Data Lake.
Will Schipp from pivotal is describing the Data Lake.

This shows how your Data Lake is interfering with other applications.

Schipp also explains the benefits of a Data Lake highlighting that it is cost effective, can store all formats and can access “atomic” data. The Data Lake can also be analyzed fully, not just the scrubbed bits and is a great source of data for next generation applications.

The benefits of a Data Lake.
The benefits of a Data Lake.

The Social Good

Ashraf Aboulnaga, PhD, from the Qatar Computing Research Institute spoke about the Social Good and how you could leverage Big Data to enable it.

First Dr Aboulnaga explained that he had to add something to Garnter’s model; saying that it does not matter, if we are handling a handful of MB’s or a load of TB’s. “It depends on the sufficiency of your data to support your hypothesis.” So Big Data is not only a matter of mass, but also of accuracy.

As an example of how Big Data is already being used in Disaster Response Dr Aboulnaga introduced micromappers which rely on public data like photos and social network information in order to rank the severity of catastrophes. The damage can then be located via GPS. This service is used by the UNO, most recently during the Taifun Yolanda (Philippines).

However he added that with a traditional way of processing information, it would require four to six weeks just to gather the right information needed. Using Big Data and realtime applications however help can be on its way much faster.

Unlocking the Value

Peter Neufeld of EMC spoke about the value of Big Data. He added that the digital Economy is new but not surprising and that everything has to transform right now to adapt and benefit from it. If you look back to just over ten years ago Apple wasn’t even in the Cell Phone market and other household names like Facebook and Twitter did not even exist. The channels are evolving very quickly now which means there are new ways for customers to adapt and transform.

EMC is already leading its customers on the path of leveraging Big Data and Social for enabling the delivery of faster and more accurate services. E.g. EMC is cooperating with Barcley Card to produce a new live-action App for its customers. EMC also works with Virgin Media or JP Morgan Chase to use their Data Lakes and create agile and mobile application solutions. Another digital transformation success story discussed in the track was that of British building center b&q who In 2010 set up a digital program focused on utilizing all that data the company was gathering to keep a relentless focus on their users to keep them highly engaged.

Keep your customers engaged.
Keep your customers engaged.


Big Data is a Key success factor and a competitive differentiator for companies now and in the near future. Its importance lies not only in creating big Data Lakes with sufficient Hardware for extracting informative value, but also in using that Data for creating the right software based applications for the business users and customers. Transformation is a must for taking part and leading in the digital business landscape of the future.

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