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IBM Exec: "Big Data Is the Phenomenon of Our Time"

Exclusive Interview with Robert Fox About the IBM/Apple Deal

The agreement between IBM and Apple to collaborate on mobility and Big Data will certainly rank as one of the big stories of the year in global enterprise IT. In addition to Apple's devices and IBM's custom apps, an absolute key to this deal will be telecommunications.

As we all know, what we call Information Technology (IT) in the US is generally referred to as Information and Communications Technology (ICT) throughout the world, demonstrating telco's importance to the whole enchilada.

Thus, we were fortunate to speak about the IBM/Apple deal recently with Robert Fox (pictured below), IBM's Global Industry Leader for Telecommunications Media & Entertainment.

Here's what we asked, and what he had to say:

Big Data Journal: Apple CEO Tim Cook mentioned "Big Data Analytics" as a key reason to do business with IBM. From your point of view and IBM's point of view, what strengths to you bring in this area?

Bob Fox: The Apple and IBM partnership is all about combining IBM's Big Data and Analytics capabilities with Apple's legendary consumer experience, hardware and software integration and developer platform.

IBM is the proven leader in Big Data and Analytics with more than 40,000 data and analytics client engagements that spans research and development, solutions, software and hardware. The analytics portfolio is made up of more than 15,000 analytics consultants, 4,000 analytics patents, 6,000 industry solution business partners, and 400 IBM mathematicians who are helping clients use Big Data to transform their business.

Over the last ten years, we have been applying these resources to solve mission critical challenges in sales, marketing, operations, fraud, security, and many other functions across the 17 industries on which we focus.

BDJ: Big Data is, obviously, nothing without strong telco to deliver it throughout enterprises and the world. What is IBM's vision and execution in the telco aspect of the IBM/Apple agreement?

Bob: While communications service providers (CSPs) are rethinking how new networks will be provisioned and managed in order to meet new traffic demands, they are also faced with the need to radically change the way networks are maintained and customers are serviced.

Some 76% of CSP enterprise customers report that they are not satisfied and are demanding faster and more efficient service. In the consumer segment, CSPs rank among the lowest in traditional measures of customer satisfaction, including NPS and advocacy.

BDJ: So how do you improve this?

Bob: Customer satisfaction can be drastically improved in this industry by giving mobile workers in the field access to real-time ticket management, service history or parts inventories in the palm of their hand.

To help restore telco's customer service reputation, IBM and Apple will develop more than 100 enterprise solutions, starting with apps for telecommunications field service personnel. These applications will allow CSPs to deliver the right services the first time, all at lower costs.

BDJ: Do have an estimate/projection on the amounts of Big Data than an individual enterprise may be collecting and analyzing? Do you have a global estimate on the growth of Big Data over the next few years?

Robert: Thanks to a proliferation of devices and the infusion of technology into all things and processes, the world is generating more than 2.5 billion gigabytes of data every day, and 80 percent of it is unstructured-everything from images, video and audio to social media and a blizzard of impulses from embedded sensors and distributed devices.

It is not atypical for a single CSP to collect data on tens of billions of events, yielding a petabyte or more of data to store and analyze--every day!

With the market for Big Data and Analytics estimated to reach $187 billion by 2015, organizations spanning many industries have become increasingly dependent on data-for recording their business transactions, managing their production lines and defining their growth strategies.

The emergence of Big Data is the phenomenon of our time; it is a new natural resource. It is fueled by the proliferation of devices, the rise of social media and the infusion of technology into all things and processes.

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More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

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