NI Week 2014 Highlights – Buzzwords Galore

NI Week 2014 is unfortunately over (although it means I do get to return to temperatures I seem to be better built for!). I wanted to share some of my highlights which will hopefully get you as excited as I feel and who knows, even persuade you to come next year! As I started writing, this got longer and longer so for now here is part 1:

1. Buzzwords Galore

This year was certainly prime for buzzword bingo with “Internet of Things” and “Big Data” flying around.

The thing that frustrates me about these is the image they produce of some magic black art that you must pay thousands to get in the club and understand it.

The reality is we don’t wake up one morning and build an internet of things. It is a constant evolution of current technology towards blue sky thinking. As Jim Robinson from Intel said in the Wednesday Keynote,

[The internet of things] is the overnight sensation that’s been 30 years in the making.

The great thing about NI Week is that many of the people making those steps are around and it really makes you feel like progress is happening.

For me it was particularly exciting to have a customer of mine showcasing their work in these areas.

National Grid are working to connect 135 power quality monitors to substations in the UK, built with compactRIO, with the goal to collate this data to ensure the stability of the power grid. In the processed form, we will be capturing >11 Billion processed measurements per year from across the UK and connecting to the monitors live to allow power engineers to keep an eye on grid conditions.

You can see more by watching the video from the keynote.  (Wednesday – The Internet of Things for Jim Robinson and Wednesday – SmartGrid for National Grid)

As for big data, I found this to be somewhat demystified by a great talk from external speaker from Dell Software. Unfortunately I failed to take down his name and I’m pretty certain it isn’t who is listed (if so you need to update your linkedin profile pic!). I took away a few interesting points:

  • Big data is really all about analytics (which by the way has been done for years!).
  • He chose to define “extreme data” as when this processing cannot be done on data at rest in the database. Rather it must be done as the data is captured.
  • There are multiple stages to these analytics, from simple dumping to a database for mining working through more advanced structuring, deriving management dashboards up to neural networks and advanced analytics for decision making. Each step reduces the data and provides more insight.

Next year I have learnt I must take more pictures to make describing sessions easier!

As a result of NI Week 2014, I definitely feel I finally have a better feeling of what these mean to me and am excited that we are all part of this revolution evolution.

For Part 2 I will talk about some of the new products I am excited about…

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