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05 February 2015

The Intersection of Big Data

Recently, we had an internal discussion about the Internet of Things (IoT) that got me thinking. If you aren’t familiar with the term, the basic idea is that all of your day-to-day “things” will be connected to the Internet, giving them the power to connect with each other.

But is there really a need to have everything connected to the Internet? You can already buy connected lightbulbs and coffee makers. Do these provide value? Does it really make it simpler to use your phone and a dedicated app to program and set the lighting in your living room? Flicking a switch seems so simple and usable.

Yet, the IoT is already showing benefits in my personal life.

The connections are beginning to take shape around us. My Withings Scale, for instance, tracks my weight among other things, and is connected with the RunKeeper app on my iPhone to track the results of my exercising. By being connected, I gain a fuller picture of my current fitness level.

Another example outside of fitness, is entertainment. Instead of streaming movies and TV shows on phones, tablets and laptops, I can now stream directly from my flat screen TV with devices like Apple TV, Roku or Google Chromecast. The content is on demand and tailored to my preferences. This is the current trend and truly a revolution in the entertainment industry. Content that is on demand and personal. Today, I am able to access the same or similar content in different ways.

But what if media providers were able to gain more information from there users. Take a look at Netflix, and its show “House of Cards,” which was developed with the help of big data. Viewers that enjoyed watching Kevin Spacey movies, the show’s star, and David Fincher movies, the show’s director, also enjoyed the British version of the “House of Cards,” according to The New York Times. Netflix executives analyzed the big data to find the correlation of interests between its viewers. The result has been sustained critical success.

YOOCHOOSE, a company in the eZ group, focuses on delivering big data analysis in the form of its real-time content personalization engine. T-online, a customer of ours, delivers movies and TV shows via a set top box as well as via the web browser. To provide a better user experience, and increase the conversion rate of rented movies, they use the recommendation engine powered by YOOCHOOSE to track all behavior on both the set top box as well as through the web or mobile access to the video service. Based on this tracking and the Internet connected set top boxes, we are able to deliver a tailored user experience for each user based on the information gathered. 

The IoT presents an interesting big data challenge. The amount of data collected going forward will be increasingly difficult to decipher. How do you plan on making sense of all the data you collect? It will come down to the apps and services that are built around this to solve the big data challenge.

Still, the IoT has yet to fully mature, and its impact on the content management space is largely unknown. The launch of the Apple Watch is right around the corner, and perhaps a product from an authority such as Apple is what the IoT needs to really take off. As of this moment, the IoT is more of a novelty targeted towards techies.

At eZ, we are focused on providing an infrastructure for omni-channel user experiences where content and services are available in all relevant channels. We are dedicated to enabling our customers to connect data from all of their sources and combine it with logic and automation.

There are big opportunities in the IoT, and depending on the quality of services, the IoT may soon reach mainstream popularity. There is still a lot of work to be done. But eZ is focused on supporting and building an infrastructure so that you can leverage the IoT and maximize on its full potential.

What is your take on the IoT? What are you looking to connect to the Internet and how will it help you create end user value?

Written by Bård Farstad, Co-founder and Chairman of Product Innovation Board at eZ Systems
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