Big data systems cross over, fuel cognitive computing growth

At IDC Directions, big data systems appeared poised for further growth. This and cognitive computing are the focus of this Talking Data podcast, which covers event data highlights.

Analysts at the recent IDC Directions 2016 conference endorsed big data's prospects to gain mainstream acceptance. But big data here includes more than just Hadoop and Spark data frameworks, as reported in the latest edition of the Talking Data podcast.

Carl Olofson, IDC research vice president for databases and data tools, like others, emphasized that just as influential in big data trends today is NoSQL technology. For both the Apache frameworks and the NoSQL databases, the effect is additive, Olofson said.

That is, they are not replacing existing relational apps. Instead they are ushering in new apps with a new class of functionality -- one very much aligned with emerging Web and mobile operations. To the question "when will big data analytics go mainstream?" the recurring answer at IDC Directions was "it already has."

New apps on tap

Eventually, an array of new applications will appear as innovative off-shoots of long-brewing artificial intelligence technology take hold, IDC Directions attendees were told.  But big data systems are essential in that development.

Big data systems will "fuel" the new apps, which will combine to form what could be called "cognitive computing," according to David Schubmehl, research director for IDC's content analytics, discovery and cognitive systems research. "Without data, you don't have cognitive computing," he said.

Cognitive computing is a muddy term, Schubmehl admitted. But assorted bits and pieces of AI technology are starting to coalesce.

In Schubmehl's estimation, cognitive computing will build on advances that have been made by common call center question-and-answer systems, Siri and the like.

Going forward, cognitive computing will be submerged in other applications. But Schubmehl expects the overall effect to be more than negligible. By 2020, according to IDC estimates, 50% of all business analytics software will include prescriptive analytics enabled by elements of cognitive computing, he said. 

Check out the latest podcast, as TechTarget editors Ed Burns and Jack Vaughan summarize the IDC conference's highlights on both the data frontline and the cognitive frontier.

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