It’s the Internet of connected life at Mobile World Congress

ATT MWCThe Internet of Things is coming fast and furious. We clearly know what these “things” are, and were able to see prototypes at last week’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) which hosted some 93,000 attendees.

Things = connected life = cars, homes (thermostats, washer and dryers, vacuum cleaners, security systems, refrigerators, etc.), toothbrushes – yes, I said toothbrushes, bicycles, loading docs, shipping ports, airports, wearables, trash cans, plus our traditional devices like the smartphones and tablets and the list grows!

AT&T was at the forefront of IoT innovation at MWC providing virtual reality tours of connected cars, a loading dock, shipping containers, farms, and the connected home service that they now provide in the US. All of this is fascinating when we consider where we were just five to ten years ago. Read More »

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Internet of Things: The industrial internet

Today in manufacturing there has been a lot of investment in automation, supervisory controls, quality, and execution systems. The amount of data produced and now being captured is staggering.  The data captured in industry will re-define what is “big” in big data.

Yet, for all this investment:

  • Equipment still fails.
  • Scrap is still produced.
  • Safety incidents still occur.

Therefore, there are things about manufacturing processes we still don’t know.

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Teamwork at the 2015 NC K-12 Chess Championship

chess_room_scaledChess as a team sport? Sure, it’s like singles tennis as a team sport: the team score is an aggregate of individual results.

Team chess is everywhere from local three-round weekend afternoon chess tournaments to the biennial Chess Olympiad where national chess teams compete for the Hamilton-Russell Cup. Just like tennis teams, chess teams encourage engagement in their sport, and the sporting aspect bolsters chess as an academic tool that helps Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.

k1_champ_croppedThe elementary, middle and high school chess teams were just one example of teamwork at the 2015 NC K-12 Chess Championship held at the Hilton Charlotte University Place Feb 14th-15th. Even the youngest 2015 champion, K-1 champion Alfred Ye pictured here, wasn't born knowing the game -- it took a team of grown-ups, including his coach, Jeff "Pig" Jones of Pig Chess Services in Raleigh, to teach him the game, nurture his skills and provide him opportunities for excellence.

Organizing and promoting the competition

Providing a venue for any statewide sporting event requires a lot of teamwork, especially when the bulk of players are 2nd-5th graders filling up the 6,000+ square foot ballroom shown above. This year, the Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy (CCCSA) led shaking_handsby Peter Giannatos organized and ran the North Carolina championship with the help of many volunteers.

Publicizing the achievements of these young athletes of abstraction is yet another puzzle to be solved by smartphone-toting and web-wielding scholastic chess supporters. Unlike some professional, college and Olympic sporting events, this championship had no satellite trucks on the lawn nor mainstream media photo-journalists with neck-straps for their cameras. This year, led the media charge by streaming the top games of the two-day championship live over the Internet for over 95,000 page views. (If you didn't catch the live action, you can still look at the archived games.)

And ChessStream's live coverage was just one part of the surge of web and social media attention around this year's championship:

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How do you measure up against an Olympic athlete?

You may be intrigued to know how the average person compares to a gold medal winning Olympic athlete when it comes to things like height, body mass, resting heart rate, arm span, body fat etc. Or, perhaps more frightening, how you measure up? I know this will resonate with my SAS colleagues in the UK as we’ve just launched a "get healthy" initiative. To kick things off we’ve had a number of these data points measured already to gauge our fitness levels, and even had our metabolic ages calculated from the data.

GBR Rowing, European Championship team announcement,

Photo credit: Intersport Images

So you can imagine my interest when I came across a piece in last month’s Rowing & Regatta magazine by Mark Homer, lead scientist with the GB Rowing Team. In it he shows how the average male and female compare to gold medal winning Olympic rowers according to 10 distinct measures.

While this data is fascinating to explore – the resting heart rate of the Olympian is around 65 per cent that of the average person and they have about half the body fat – what’s important to note is this is just a tiny fraction of the information on each rower that is now being collected.

In addition, there is performance data: on the water, strength and conditioning, rowing stroke and a host of biomechanical data collected from various sensors on the boats. To make gold medal winning decisions, the GB Rowing Team needs to know every relevant fact about each of the athletes, and derive insights as to what affects their performance and what affects the performance of different combinations of athletes in a crew.

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Beyond warranty: The changing face of field quality

Warranties have a long - and some might say - interesting past.  But the future is even brighter.  New technologies and data sources are transforming our understanding of field quality, enabling deeper insights into product performance and customer preferences.  These breakthroughs are accelerating the quest to reduce defects and satisfy customers.

The concept of a product warranty has been around for centuries. The earliest record of warranty can be found in the Babylonian and Assyrian tablets of the twenty-first century B.C.[i] However, for most of that time, it was buyer beware. Following WWII, consumer pressure and legislative action like UCC in 1952 forced manufacturers to start consistently offering warranties on their products.

In the decades since, warranty has been largely viewed as a necessary evil, a cost of doing business. Sure, extended warranties and service contracts provided a little extra revenue, but still rarely are viewed as a strategic part of the business.Have Your Voice Heard

For years, the warranty claim has been one of the few windows into understanding the customer experience and product performance in the field.  Adopters of warranty analytics, like Sub-Zero Wolf, have dramatically shortened the detection to correction cycle, reduced costs, and increased customer satisfaction.

Now the hype is all about the Internet of Things, Social Media, Big Data Analytics, and The Cloud.  But these technologies are more than just buzzwords.  Read More »

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United Kingdom electoral battlespace: facts or fiction?

BigBenThe electoral battlespace for the upcoming general election in the United Kingdom is starting to take shape. Campaigners are busily debating the political landscape. They want to own the high ground that dominates areas that matter most to voters – the NHS and the economy.  With an ageing population and a declining share of global GDP – cutting services to balance the budget is a harsh reality.

For the politicians that seize control of Number 10 in mid-May, crunching the numbers in a bid to look for efficiencies will be a key priority. However, after five years of unprecedented budget cuts, it will be like trying to find a very few needles in lots of haystacks, each one guarded by its own farmers!

After the battle is over, tough decisions will need to be made. As the Spending Review dawns they will be faced with public scrutiny. Of course, people arrive at decisions differently – some act on ideology, others are led by a gut feel or instinct, while some rely on painstaking research.

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Big data and analytics demand a bigger skills commitment from the Federal Government

Despite an increase in the availability of data in the federal government over the past few years, data and analytics could be doing even more for federal agencies. A strategic approach to managing and analyzing the data is needed. And, like many technology challenges – that’s a people problem.

A new GovLoop report, Government Workforce in Focus: Closing the Data and Analytics Skills Gap, surveyed 283 public sector professionals and found that despite collecting, storing and managing volumes of data as they perform mission-critical activities, federal agencies fall short in turning the information into insight. This is due, in large part, to a critical skills gap.

GovLoop infographic-snip-outline Read More »

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Mobile World Congress, Hadoop and big data analytics - oh my!

Legacy Analytics vs. Big Data Analytics

Legacy Analytics vs. Big Data Analytics

Mobile World Congress is quickly approaching. Attendees and exhibitors are feverishly scheduling meetings, doing research, and determining their areas of focus to maximize their experience of the event. If you're hoping to learn more about big data analytics at the conference, here are some helpful insights and resources to help you prepare.

Big data analytics and Hadoop use cases in the communications and media industries are steadily growing, and include:

  • Improving customer experiences.
  • Making better pricing decisions.
  • Monetizing customer and IoT data.
  • Better predicting audience behavior and ratings.
  • Planning and optimizing networks more accurately.

A recent report on Using Next Generation Advanced Analytics to Harness Big Data produced by Heavy Reading provides compelling insight on these use cases plus includes market survey data on investment priorities for big data analytics.

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Award-winning SAS tweets of 2014

It's that time of year: Awards season. While we on the SAS Social Media Team will be happily following along this Sunday for the 87th Annual Academy Awards (via Twitter, naturally), we thought it only appropriate to use this as a time to celebrate our customers in social from 2014. From showing us the love to making us laugh to Star Wars, we love our Twitter followers. Today we roll out the red carpet for our top Tweets of 2014.

Best Feel-Good Tweet of the Year


Sometimes a story can move you. Marie Lowman shared her very personal story of how SAS saved her daughter's life.

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Why SAS joined the Open Data Platform (ODP) initiative

ElephantsAs the point person for SAS joining the new Open Data Platform (ODP) initiative, I want to make it clear why SAS is involved with ODP, and why we think it’s important to our customers, and the Hadoop and big data ecosystem as a whole.

SAS is not in it to choose sides on Hadoop distribution vendors.  We support all five major distributions -- Cloudera, Hortonworks, IBM, MapR and Pivotal -- with our applications, and requests continue to pour in for more support of region-specific distributions.  SAS will continue our collaboration with all Hadoop vendors.

Anyone else working with multiple distributions of Hadoop will understand the challenges involved.  Here are three revealing examples from the last few months, each from a different (unnamed) vendor:

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