Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Next Generation of Big Data Recap

One hundred people gathered at Microsoft NERD for the Big Data Cluster’s seminar on February 28, 2014, where the morning was kicked off by Sastry Chilikuri, Partner at McKinsey & Co. Sastry’s keynote went through four lessons he has discovered are critical to a successful big data program.

  1. Transformation journey. Communication and access to data is key.
  2. Open data. Governments are moving towards open data platforms and sharing more information with the public. Companies are using social media more and more to gather insights on their customers.
  3. Organization and talent. It takes a team of people who can bridge the different gaps required for a successful big data workflow.
  4. Frontline adoption. The end result must be to take advantage of the insights gathered through the data.

Sastry closed his keynote remarking that those organizations who are most successful in the big data journey are those that master the feedback loop. From there our panel got started in on the trends they are seeing and where the biggest opportunities within big data can be found.

Marilyn Matz, Co-Founder and CEO of Paradigm4, sees one of the biggest opportunities for organizations is to take advantage of the multiple data sources now available to them. Jon Pilkington, Vice President of Products at Datawatch spoke of using a combination of real time and stored data to garner insights and then to have the ability to display to the end user. Iran Hutchinson, Product Manager and Software/Systems Architect at Intersystems talked about the need for interoperability and the need to work within a single platform.

Bob Zurek, Senior Vice President of Product at Epsilon went in a slightly different direction, away from data, tools, and platforms and spoke about developing the next generation of data scientists and the adoption of new academic curriculums being offered.

Tools and Applications and Workforce
There was some slight debate on whether one size can fit all within the big data stack. Generally organizations must serve multiple needs across multiple consumer types and there is no one software that can accommodate everything, which is why many organizations use a combination of tools and applications. And with that, we’ll be seeing more pre-packaged and less complicated tools which can be used by business intelligence specialists not just data scientists.

Ultimately the panel understood that to create and implement a big data strategy – ultimately to get the
data to where it needs to be - is hard and you need to hire the people that know how to do it. And what can often help is a large integrator to identify the right tools for the stack and then put them into process.

Final take-aways
Big data is not a new phenomenon. Business intelligence has been done for many years. But the questions we ask and the answers that are provided are more complex. There needs to be a focus on business and an understanding that there are no shortcuts. But overall we have an amazing opportunity with so many benefits to the way in which we work and live.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

MassTLC Welcomes Longtime Member PTC to Elevated Global Sponsorship Level

PTC to Play Key Role in Helping MassTLC Launch Internet of Things Cluster

CAMBRIDGE, MASS., March 11, 2014 – The Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC), a leading technology association and premier network for technology executives, announced today that longtime member PTC (Nasdaq: PTC) has increased its membership in the organization to Global Sponsor. Based in Needham, PTC develops technology solutions that help companies create, operate, and service products for a smart, connected world.

“At MassTLC, we take great pride in the success of homegrown technology leaders like PTC,” said Tom Hopcroft, President and CEO of MassTLC.  “From its early roots as a local startup that redefined the market for product design software, to today when PTC is a billion dollar global company poised to help set the agenda for the emerging Internet of Things, PTC has shown its commitment to Massachusetts. We’re pleased that the company has elected to raise its level of engagement in the community and become a Global Sponsor of MassTLC.”

“As a longtime member of MassTLC, PTC has enjoyed helping shape the organization’s agenda and benefitted from its many programs,” said Eric Snow, PTC’s vice president of corporate communications.  “MassTLC is helpful in fostering a culture of innovation in Massachusetts through industry education and networking, workforce development, and public policy advocacy.  We are pleased to increase our level of involvement in MassTLC this year and look forward to helping launch the new Internet of Things cluster.”

PTC enables manufacturers to achieve sustained product and service advantage in the Internet of Things era. The company's technology solutions transform the way products are created, operated, and serviced across the entire product lifecycle – from conception and design to sourcing and service. Founded in 1985, PTC employs over 6,000 professionals serving more than 28,000 businesses in rapidly-evolving, globally distributed manufacturing industries worldwide.

About Mass Technology Leadership Council

The Mass Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC) is the region's leading technology association and the premier network for tech executives, entrepreneurs, investors and policy leaders. MassTLC's purpose is to accelerate innovation by connecting people from across the technology landscape, providing access to industry-leading content and ideas and offering a platform for visibility for member companies and their interests. For more information on MassTLC, visit

Mobile World Congress Debrief

At MassTLC’s recent Mobile World Congress Debrief on March 7, 2014, an audience of mobile app developers, infrastructure providers, investors and analysts gathered to hear our panel discuss their observations from the 2014 Mobile World Congress (MWC).   Nitzan Shaer, Managing Partner at High Start Group, moderated the panel, which included:
  • Gene Dolgin, Senior Manager, Endeavour Partners
  • Meredith Flynn-Ripley, CEO, Heywire
  • Mads Lillelund, VP and GM, Bluesocket Business Group, ADTRAN
  • Victor Milligan, CMO, Nexage
  • Stuart Taylor, Managing Director, Service Provider Transformation Group, Cisco

All of the panelists agreed that applications have now taken center stage at MWC.  Carriers have seen their influence at the event decline and are now trying to attract attention to their services.    Among the big ideas that the panelist took away from MWC are:
  • There is a widening divide between carriers and applications developers
  • Carriers are trying to sell services now and are no longer the center of the mobile universe
  • Every player on the periphery of mobile is struggling to understand the apps world
  • Europe, Asia and to a lesser extent the U.S. are working on city-wide mobile deployments (smart cities)
  • Ancillary spaces like healthcare are getting pulled into mobile but do not understand it
  • Big device makers are getting close to or surpassing the smaller plays in terms of UX/user design

Other observations from our panelists included:
  • GPS-driven apps, especially in the healthcare/exercise space, were big at MWC
  • IoT is finally real, after years of buzz about it; this is related to the smart cities trend
  • A large number of cars were present at the show, highlighting the integration of mobile apps in a traditional heavy manufacturing industry
  • M2M, even more than wearables, is experiencing the fastest growth.  Healthcare and automotive are two verticals that are driving M2M
  • Security was much discussed at MWC
  • Data analytics companies had a limited presence at the conference, but advertising was center stage

Mobile in the enterprise was also discussed.  The panelists felt that getting the right apps and content under the enterprise’s control was the biggest issue for the enterprise.  There was a belief that the mobile enterprise strategy is moving beyond IT’s control.  Hyper-adoption by consumers is impacting enterprises as workers bring their devices and apps into the workplace.  The upside for the enterprise is that costs get passed onto employees who pay for their own devices and apps, and productivity increases as employees tend to work more hours because they are always connected. 

When asked for predictions about what will be big at 2015’s MWC, our panelists had a range of answers, including: 
  • Mobile payments
  • Cars/wearables
  • Virtualization/software defined network solutions
  • In-home mobile apps
  • 5G
  • Monetization of apps independent of carriers
  • Use of data intelligence
  • Apps mirroring how users act and live. 

Thanks to everyone that joined us, to our moderator and panelists and to the Workbar team for hosting us.  Please feel free to share your observations about MWC or mobile trends in the comments section.