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October 2017, Vol. 5, No. 5

Big data systems put companies on new business paths

Big data systems, for some companies, aren't just platforms for new types of data processing and analytics applications -- they're the driving force behind entirely new business strategies. That's the case at iPass Inc., which is using a big data environment to fuel a strategic shift from pay-for-use Wi-Fi access to tools for managing and optimizing mobile connectivity for corporate users. Introduced in late 2015, the company's iPass SmartConnect software includes algorithms that identify Wi-Fi access points and rank them on performance so mobile users can connect to the fastest and most reliable hotspots available. That marks a big change from when iPass gave users a static list of hotspots. And it wouldn't be possible without the underlying data management platform built around the Spark processing engine, said Tomasz Magdanski, director of big data and analytics at iPass. "We do need the big data architecture, 100%," he explained. "There's no way we could crunch all this data in real time and do all the ranking and ...

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