With the right information delivered to the right place at the right time, and in the right context, you can truly make the world a better place. More so now than ever before, the right place is a mobile device — but even that landscape is changing with the increasing availability and viability of wearable technology.
For the longest time I have been intrigued by the notion of wearable technology and its impact on how we consume information. Not only how wearable tech changes the way we consume information, but how this plays out against the broader backdrop of the convergence between cloud, (real time) Big Data, mobility and social media.
Interestingly, wearables fall into two major categories: data producers and data consumers. The FitBit Flex, Nike Fuel and Jawbone Up are all great examples of data producers. These devices monitor different aspects of the user’s life — including activity levels, sleep patterns and more — and storing that information in the cloud via the tethered smartphone and usually via Bluetooth.
On the data consumption side, there are devices like the Pebble watch and Google Glass.
Keep in mind: Not every wearable can be easily classified as a data producer or consumer. For example, Google Glass produces real-time data, like the wearer’s GPS location, to better provide contextual map information. The Nike Fuel and FitBit Flex also provide a small display to provide feedback and notifications.
I have been using both the Flex and the Pebble for a couple of months and both devices have had an impact on me in different ways. The Pebble can deliver SMS messages and emails directly to the watch face, allowing a subtle turn of my wrist to support a quick decision — whether to respond or ignore a message. This saves time and reduces the disruption of checking my smartphone continually. The Flex can also track sleep patterns. Personally speaking, this has been fantastic; tracking the type and amount of sleep is a great diagnostic tool for someone who has traditionally been a poor sleeper.
Whether it’s decisions in the moment or an aggregation of data over time that’s needed, these devices offer ways to change our momentary decisions as much as our tactical ones. And we’re only in the early stages of this technology.
While the technology is still immature, their use as consumers and producers offer fascinating pointers to the future and the increasingly important role TIBCO will play.
How am I so sure? The answer is actually contained in our company’s mission statement: We’re dedicated to the vision that if you get the right information to the right place at the right time, and in the right context, you can make the world a better place.
Taking the mission statement and factoring in wearables, the connection is clear. We now have access to massive amounts of computing and data power, but the physical structures that consume and produce that data are evolving just as quickly. That raises important questions for where to go from here:
The right information – How do you distill all of that information onto a tiny watch face? What information is most important and in which moments?
The right place – Each device has different capabilities and will lively diverge further. How will we know what information is the most valuable on which device?
The right context – How does the FitBit Flex, for example, get more accuracy on activity levels by understanding what the user is doing right now?
With devices like Pebble, and especially true with Google Glass, a user can potentially have a steady stream of real-time information delivered in every moment. But is this the right thing to have? The timeliness of information delivery will vary from person to person, from device to device and most importantly, from event to event. How do you deliver the right information at the right velocity and at the right time?
These are problems and challenges that TIBCO’s platform was created to solve. We have the baked-in ability to close the loop between data at rest and data in motion to pull together the right information and create the right context. We’ve been in that space for years.
Imagine this (only slightly contrived) example: An important business pattern has been detected that could include fraud, a network outage, a risk threshold reached, a potential out of stock, etc. How would we deliver the right information to the right place at the right time, and in the right context, in the world of wearable tech?
First, by analyzing biometric information in real time we can determine the state of the right “place.” Is the person active or asleep? If the user is sleeping we can compare real-time biometric information against historical averages to determine the best mechanism to wake the user. Components like messaging, BusinessEvents, StreamBase, Spotfire, TERR, ActiveSpaces and other products play a role. It is a classical real-time Big Data problem.
Second, what goes into the notification? Like the Goldilocks fable, the porridge (notification) can’t be too hot (high volume) or too cold (scarce). It needs to be just right.
Technologies like BusinessWorks, MDM (our master data management product), and SOA construct and deliver to the wearable device the right context for the notification and subsequent action. The SOA/Integration layer provides access to up-to-date information, but also solves the “last mile” connectivity problem to the wearable tech.
MDM is powerful as it can be used to provide great contextual information as well as translating computer-readable information into human-readable information. Getting a potential fraud notification (like “store_id:1234”) isn’t very useful. However with MDM (and Integration/SOA) you would get this: “Fraud trending ($3k, Cosmetics): Palo Alto (#2 rank, $140k/day sales, $5k/day wastage).”
Lastly, BPM and tibbr (our collaboration platform) can manage the action taken by the user. Linking the notification on my wearable device to a business process, a collaboration, or a visual analytics app turns an event into an action in an efficient and seamless manner.
It’s the Platform
Everything I’ve mentioned are things that are all possible today. As wearable tech improves and becomes ubiquitous, our platform will be there, constantly evolving for new use cases and with updated technology. Instead of simple notifications, imagine contextual enterprise events streaming in real time directly to your Google Glass like device. Personally, I can’t wait to get more information in real time, and where I want it.
Trends like wearable technology continue to tilt the future even more toward the TIBCO platform, placing our company in the right moment with exactly the right stuff.
Image via Pebble Technology, via Wikimedia Commons.