It’s Not the Size, It’s the Motion! Why Data in Motion Matters

Manager of Portfolio Strategy, IBM

We know data is omnipresent in our world; that’s no secret. By now, most are familiar with the “Vs” of big data – volume, variety, velocity and veracity. Organizations are finding innovative ways to harness big data for competitive advantage. But if you stop and think about it, what we are really doing is looking through vast volumes of data to find the one tidbit that is going to mean the difference between success and failure. This tidbit might only be available for or a few minutes or less. So it’s really not the size of data that matters – it is the speed or motion of the data!

True innovators are finding value in even the smallest bytes of data that move very rapidly into and out of the organization. That’s because most organizations will overlook these opportunities, wrongly thinking that because data moves too quickly and can’t be stored, there is no way to analyze it. Analyzing data in motion and capitalizing in the moment is the secret to success in the era of big data. This is where stream computing comes into play.

Stream computing changes where, when and how much of your business data you can analyze. By extracting insight from data as it is in motion, you can react to events as they are happening to reshape business outcomes. Store less, analyze more, and make better decisions, faster. From increased customer retention to earlier fraud detection to more frequent cross-selling, the benefits of stream computing are many.

There are many clients in the energy and utilities space who are putting stream computing to the test every day. For example, Battelle has been at the forefront of analyzing data in motion. Deployment of smart meters and intelligent grid makes good sense. It lays the foundation for increased electric power reliability, faster outage recoveries and greater energy efficiency. By the same token, it can open the floodgates for an enormous amount of data. Buried in this data is valuable information about component performance, energy throughput, demand levels and more – details that can help improve prediction and prevent outages if you are smart enough to see it.

InfoSphere Streams has the ability to analyze data streams in near-real time. Energy and utility clients are able to foresee potential problems, understand the causes and know which crews to dispatch to solve issues quickly.

There are a number of stream computing use cases emerging within Intelligent Grid / Smart Grid:

  1. Outage Detection and Prediction: Stream computing can be highly effective in monitoring grid/plant elements and networks that produce massive amounts of sensor data. Analytics can rapidly predict and analyze data to help detect grid/plant outages.
  2. Load Shedding: Stream computing can help monitor and run powerful real time analytics on a continuous deluge of data from smart meters and sensors. This data in conjunction with historic performance and right kind of algorithms can not only help with load forecasting anomalies but also prescribe relevant demand-response actions.
  3. Condition-Based Maintenance: Based on analytics on continuous streams of sensor data, streams computing can operationalize condition-based maintenance (CBM) by identifying assets that are likely to fail in the near term, or require maintenance or operational changes to keep assets from failure. Action can then be taken to preemptively control or repair the equipment.
  4. Smarter Analytics: Stream computing enables utility companies to run extremely powerful analytics that take both structured real time data from smart meters and well as unstructured data like satellite imagery feeds, weather forecasts, PMUs for a variety of uses such as price fluctuation forecasting, energy trading insights, etc.

Simply stated, it’s not the size of data, it’s the motion of data that counts. With stream computing, you can perform advanced real-time analytics on data in motion. Like Battelle, you will be able to make real-time predictions and discoveries as data enters the system, detect and respond to critical events immediately and learn and update models for future analysis.

Sound too good to be true? You don’t have to take our word for it. Try out InfoSphere Streams Quick Start. Get your hands on IBM’s innovative stream computing platform.