2021: The Year Real Time Gets Real

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As the emphasis shifts to real-time enterprise development, today’s leading data challenge “is not one of volume, but of speed,” said James Corcoran, CTO at Kx. “The value of real-time data increases exponentially when you can bring it together with historical data to combine, compare, and contrast in the moment. From machines in precision manufacturing that need to improve yield and reduce waste, to equipment monitoring in remote areas, optimizing 4G and 5G networks in real time, or even improving vehicle performance for F1 racing teams, historical data must be able to inform and shape large volumes of incoming data as that data is created so that real-time information is immediately placed in the context of what a business knows already.”

Application Demand

Industry experts point out that just about every application being designed or created at this time requires a real-time component. “With the advent of mobile devices, smartphones, and systems, users need access to up-to-date information at their fingertips,” said Ahmed. “In recent times, the concept of IoT—a system of interrelated, internet-connected objects that are able to collect and transfer data over a wireless network—has skyrocketed.”

IoT-generated data will be driving much of the push to real time. This includes applications that utilize streaming data from cameras, sensors, or data feeds to make real-time decisions, said Todd Loeppke, chief architect at Sungard Availability Services. “This could be for autonomous vehicles, controlling a drone, an operating room, or a low-latency trading platform—any situation where the decision time can have a direct impact on a life/death situation or a significant monetary outcome.”

Real-time capabilities are being built into the back ends of business processes as well. “Real-time technology is very important in logistics and shipping, especially for businesses where inventory or products are critical to sales,” said J. Todd Jennings, CEO of Nexterus Technologies. This came to light during the COVID-19 crisis, when “tracking shipments from international sources became more complicated. Applications with real-time technology should be very sensitive regarding shipments that need to be coordinated with the launch of sales and marketing efforts.”

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