Corporate interests have transformed social media platforms into paid broadcast platforms. There’s room for disruption in 2013.
— Stephan Tual (@stephantual) December 27, 2012
The event was organized by PHP London, The Python London Group, GeoMob London, The London D3.js user Group, DJUGL and Big Data London. I’d like to thank Acunu in particular for letting me crash the party and make a great “I don’t need to be on no stinking guestlist” entrance.
The event did a lot of things very well indeed.
All in all, a very well organized event.
* Three Beards actually does this very well
** This may not be 100% factual.
It’s been an interesting couple of weeks in the Mobile Payment industry, especially observing the larger corporate playing catchup to the more agile startups in the field. The smaller players all seem to share a ‘landgrab’ strategy, such as Intuit entering the UK, or Adyens’ Shuttle rolling out to Europe. Methinks many aren’t out there to build ‘millennial’ companies, but instead fighting for relevance in a landscape where the payment world’s incumbents will simply go shopping in a couple year’s time.
And staying relevant they must, because it’s an industry that’s seeing cutthroat competition bordering on the clone wars, with for example SumUp partnering with a German taxi company, only weeks after Payleven did… the exact same thing.
It was refreshing to see a bit of innovation through Droplet, which offers completely free app-to-app payment (they make their money from the interest derived from the funds in trust). Droplet just also happens to have the former brand Director for Visa Europe on board, what a small world!
The next step is for the current batch of mobile payment startups to disrupt other industries in order to differentiate themselves in a definitive way. For example, Square recently introduced a gift card distribution mechanism that’s so simple it beggars belief no one came up with it before: a card is purchased through the Square app, and sent electronically to another Square app which can immediately start using it.
Where is this is all leading to? With the giants progressively waking up and smelling the coffee, my gut feeling is they’ll simply acquire the startups with the proven capabilities to execute, ideally fairly soon, and irrespective of pre-existing internal Mobile Payment programs.
Let’s not forget Verifone has the upper hand in the Tier 1 & 2 retailer space, and in the future might be flexing its acquisition muscle in order to snag the Tier 3. And as for Visa, it owns the space when it comes to banks and it’s now making the most of it, adding Bank of America’s 55 million users to it’s V.me digital wallet service. Ironically, BoA already has its own mobile payment solution – talk about a stampede!
I reckon 2013 will be the year of M&A in this space, with some entrepreneurs gearing up for a big payday if they play their cards right.
It’s already called ‘Big’ Data, but what you should actually prepare for is ‘Humongous data’. There’s a reason why Google is building the world’s largest RDBMS, spanning the entire planet, and that’s because data sources are multiplying at a dizzying rate.
We are now creating every couple of days as much information as we did from the dawn of man until 2003. Storage is officially dirt cheap, and companies like Amazon are capitalizing on the growing data trend. Amazon S3, for example, now stores 1.3 trillion objects and has seen 3.7 million EMR (ie. Hadoop) clusters launched since May 2010.
So where is this exponential data growth going to come from? Sensors. Billions of interconnected sensors. Take for example Scanadu, a Star Trek tricorder-like accessory for your smartphone that diagnose ailments based on its active sensor output. While this is interesting in itself of course, it’s taken one step further by Vinod Koshla’s Ginger.io which uses passive sensors to constantly monitor a patient, and identify changes in patterns that may be health warning signs.
We’re rapidly going towards applications that will constantly monitor, relay and process millions of users’ pulse, body temperature and oxygen levels – in batch mode at first, then in real time.
Data has grown eightfold in the last seven years, and the 9 billion devices connected to the internet are about to be joined by another 41 billion by the end of the decade. If your company has so far struggled processing social feeds due to their size and associated technology requirements, how will it deal with every video on the planet converted to actionable text and brand information?
With processing and storage so affordable and simple to provision, some companies are starting to think about information in totally new ways, which in turns leads to innovative new products. The problem you see, isn’t any more about how to process data, or technology, but how to ask the right questions.
Hello and welcome a new episode of The Week in Big Data.
Dolla dolla bill, y’all, this week has been absolutely insane with funding and acquisition news!
On the other hand, it hasn’t been such a good week for the incumbents. Dell saw its earnings for Q3 fall 47%, and HP seems to be collapsing under the weight of its own red tape and poor management. More and more decision makers out there are starting to see traditional Enterprise Software as the emperor’s new clothes. Here’s hoping for the end of million-dollar CMS software and other nonsense. (On that note, Enterprise Software doesn’t have to suck – just ask Atlassian).
In the realm of the second screen, it was interesting to see some early consolidation taking place, with Viggle acquiring GetGlue for $25M. We’re also starting to see some releases into production on the ‘smarphone as a controller’ front. I personally was very impressed with Kontrol.tv, which I strongly encourage you to download and have a play with. The Web Arcade System project is also worth a look. Frameworks such as Derby and Meteor are simplifying the development of collaborative, multiscreen applications, so expect to see a lot more very soon.
And finally, it’s really exciting to see Machine Learning get some mainstream recognition, even though some of it has been a little bit hamfisted. I’m particularly excited about the indirect, surprising impact it could have on various industries: for example this research into household monitoring could ultimately help caring for the elderly.
BI is also a field that of course can really benefit from automation through ML: faster data cleansing, the flagging/rejecting of ‘out of bounds’ data, customer segmentations and promotion sensitivity analysis all immediately come to mind as ideal candidates. And unlike weapon systems, there would be no danger or ethical concerns in delivering marketing campaigns through fully automated platforms. Regardless if machines will eventually think like humans or not, I still believe the solution isn’t all machines, or all human, but a combination of both – something you could call human ‘on’ (vs. ‘in’) the loop – or what Joe Lonsdale calls “Man Machine Symbiosis“.
See you next week!
* As always, this post is sponsored by Beyond Analysis, “Unlocking the value of Human Behaviour” – please visit http://www.beyondanalysis.net/ to learn more.
Hi I’m Stephan Tual and this is The Week in Big Data, where every other word is a hyperlink. The topic this week: things are getting really, really busy. Don’t blink!
You thought we’d get a bit of a break after Strata, however major plays are still coming hard and fast. This week alone Platfora raised $20M, Continuuity $10M, Datasift $25M and 10gen topped up its $73.4M with another 7.6M.
I’ve now completely lost track of mobile payment platform solutions. First Payleven clones Square, then Google copy’s PayPal plastic cards, iZettle finds the worst possible workaround to accept Visa, Visa launches V.me, tabbedout enters the market, Bank of America challenges Square, SumUp clones everyone, Squares laughs all the way to the bank, PayPal re-launches decade old technology, but apparently none of that discourages Flint to launch. NFC, dongles, digital wallets and apps, just call me when a standard has been established.
Another industry heating up is the cloud cost calculator space. This week newvem joins cloudyn, planforcloud, cloudability and uptimecloud to help you better plan your costs, utilization and availability, backed by $4 million from Greylock Partners, Index Ventures and Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors.
On Monday, we learned through the always excellent @floating_sheep that it was possible to roughly pinpoint earthquakes’ epicenters through geolocated tweets. I’d be interested to see if bringing sentiment analysis in the mix could help refine the results, especially as NLP is becoming easier of access every day – see Maluuba’s announcement on opening up their API.
Here’s a group of people who aren’t innovating around the edges, Vinod would be proud. When they’re not being put in shackles at the US border, the guys are Techstars Boston are turning air into water, reinventing the spring, and using quantified self principles to help facilitate pregnancies. Don’t worry, at least one of these startup is powered by ‘big data’, so this blog post can now be considered Buzzword compliant.
And finally, Google launched the world’s largest geolocation data aggregation project – Ingress. Repeating its success from 411, which subsequently was shut down and gave birth to the speech recognition tech found in JellyBean, Google’s successful viral campaign ”Niantic” is revealed it as an augmented reality game likely launched to create the data that will power Glass. Clever.
* This post is sponsored by Beyond Analysis, “Unlocking the value of Human Behaviour” – please visit http://www.beyondanalysis.net/ to learn more.