Catalytic Information (rather than disruptive technology) -
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Catalytic Information (rather than disruptive technology)

IT transformed from Technology to Information

There is an explosion of data, from phone to fitness devices, parking spaces to heating controls. However most of this data is one dimensional and unidirectional, but when linked with other data it becomes a key contributor to greater value – substantially more than its initial intrinsic worth.  By harnessing the availability of data, passing it to systems which add and augment its original data, we have a new data flow in the making.  In parallel with this creation, massive data storage availability provides the platform for prominence and accessibility systems (brought about by the needs of the Internet), provide a staging platform from where new processes, algorithms and correlations can be made, evaluated, revised and concluded.  These hypotheses can be portrayed in advanced visualizations allowing the knowledge enriched data to expose value to the observer or present options where human expert decision is desirable.  This flow is no longer unidirectional, at any stage, feedback can be provided to the previous process or even the original source to perform control or mitigation actions, thus enabling change to the system outcome in near time or real time. 

Convergence, Integration and Collaboration

Quote: “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress;

working together is success.”

– Henry Ford

Sensors, traces and logs have been with us for at least a century, data repositories have been in place for decades, modern Artificial Intelligence has been worked on since the 1940’s, and graphical methods in the 1800’s. So why now?  Consumerisation of sensors which formerly cost £100,000 are now available for under £5, continuous connectivity, inexpensive storage, utility computing and leaps in the types of analytical algorithms deployed have be the technical advances

However there has been a significant shift in the attitude to sharing.  Open source, open data knowledge and free flow of both people and ideas cannot be underestimated.  Collaborative sharing of technology and data is also a factor.

Emerging technologies are advancing with speed, combined with existing data systems, will provide a perfect condition for a seismic shift in how we use this flood of data.  The prospect is to add value and integrate this new sea of data stream into both existing processes and services as well as create completely new business opportunities or indeed business sectors.  Companies will no longer own all the data flow from input to exploitation, rather they will collaborate and share where it is beneficial, producing secondary information, which they themselves could productise or sell on for others to gain value from.


Quote: “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one

begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”

― Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes

Internet of Things (IoT): – connected devices, collecting specific data, location aware and transmitted with a multitude of other secondary sensor data.  New and ever increasing types of mobile and static sources will enhance the existing corporate and shared data available creating new capabilities.

Streaming Data: – automatic recording of sensor information, log files, signals, traces, images, sounds, web logs, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other device proximity, temperature, location, as well as state. All these new sources provide or potentially all can provide vast amounts of data – continually.

Data Driven

Quote: “Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers.”

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Big Data: – Data viability, cleansing, transformation, storage and curation are the precursor to full future exploitation.  Validation and initial enquiry will reveal anomalies but if valid will be retained. 

Distributed ledgers, Blockchain: – Distributed Data repositories will offer tamper proof permanent records of changes allowing new ways of sharing valid data to participants, sound in the knowledge that the data is valid and current.  New processes and simplification of existing convoluting work will be possible.  Although overhyped this technology is already providing some simple, low velocity, record sharing opportunities in both the corporate and government sectors.


Quote: “True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing.”


Machine Learning: – data analysis using established statistical methods can provide insight into the relationships held within if not directly visible. Nearest Neighbour, Decision Tree Learning, Bayesian and Clustering techniques are all well-established within Data Science, complex mathematics perhaps but straightforward in concept.

Quote: “AI is the study of how to make computers perform things that,

at the moment, people do better.”

– Elaine Rich (and Kevin Knight)

Artificial Intelligence: – Neural Networks, mimicking biological simulations, have added to the tools available since the 1990’s adding Reinforcement Learning and pattern recognition.  These more modern techniques offer tools for problem solving, reasoning and determination of social and emotional “Intelligence”. 


Quote: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

– Albert Einstein

Visualisation: –  for better decision making and context.  The most important benefits of visualization is that it allows enormous quantities of data to be presented in an easily digestible format.  Our brains are designed to receive, process, spot patterns and make sense of what we see – it is still the most powerful computer we carry with us.

Virtual Reality: –  The representation of a non-physical location can add a framework of understanding to raw data, it can submerge us within a visualisation and allow us to change perspective on the representation and hence how we view the data presented.

Augmented Reality: –  Adding data to a real world is probably more significant than VR – in that it can provide added value to real situations, industrial solutions are already in the market.  Applications come to mind readily and in combination of the instrumentation of the world we know (through the connected, data driven, intelligent analytics) will deliver commercial value as well as entertainment.   

Reaching Critical Mass of the Building Blocks required

Quote: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

– Benjamin Franklin

The capabilities of the key components are beginning to become clear to those outside each domain. Their lifecycles have not been dependent on each other, but they are becoming intertwined and will drive each other in new directions. Original business opportunities will emerge for those who understand the value of integration of these currently disparate technical advances.  Some will be new opportunities in existing businesses, others will be provided by alternative industries while some will be totally new. 

This new data rich flow will come from multiple sources, traditional and new, collection, tagging and storage will be required. Processes and processors will analyse, link disparate data and process through the extensive volume of data.  Experienced algorithms will review and re-review the data through a myriad of dimensions, until some valuable conclusion is achieved.

Conclusion – Call to Action

Quote: “The only source of knowledge is experience.”

– Albert Einstein

Something described in this paper has or will impact your life, may I suggest you get involved and understand how it will benefit you personally. You may have no knowledge of any of the topics reviewed, but if you have this paper you probably have access to the internet – the world’s best knowledge provider.

Why not give Paul a shout on for a friendly informal chat about your business needs?


Published by Paul Yewman on behalf of Chris Giavotto, Senior Program Manager and lover of Tech