Nov 29, 2011

Can HP's "information optimization" actually analyze the information that is not currently used in relational databases?

HP is launching "Next Generation Information Platform: IDOL 10", apparently making use of Autonomy, the software company HP bought not too long ago for $11.7 billion.  HP basically claims that only 15% of information is currently organized in traditional relational databases, and they want to capture the other 85% and use it. One problem with that is that the mountain of currently unused, unstructured data is in the form of emails, tweets, pictures, charts and so on. I don't really see how you can make use of much of that in the same way as you do most of the data that is in a relational database. How is HP going to do this, and what kinds of ways can you see making use of all this information if it actually works?


There is so much information that is unstructured and it would seem too complex to effectively analyze, at least in ways that an organized relational database makes use of.  You just can't easily distill the meaning of an image or chart into a nicely organized set of rows and columns.  And how do different ways of saying the same thing get dealt with?  Not well, at times in the current world.  But as we saw with Watson on Jeopardy, we are getting closer to being able to use intuitive human communication methods, i.e. conversational speech, to effectively access data.  It seems that what HP is more or less taking that ability to access data in a less rigid manner, and doing something conceptually similar  in analyzing and categorizing the underlying data.  I would like to see more, but this sounds like an interesting step towards information optimization on a new scale.  I will look for more press on this in weeks to come.   

Hi heyfoxe,

I'm not sure as I haven't been following it. But here's an article with some background that you might find interesting. It sounds like a potentially good thing for them if they can sell products around it.

HP, Autonomy Releases Focus on Big Data, Social Intelligence

"While everyone had been expecting speedy action following the Autonomy acquisition, HP’s release today (Tuesday, November 29) of a new platform to process unstructured information based on IDOL has to be a record.

The ink has hardly dried on the US$ 12 billion deal — in fact it was only officially closed eight weeks ago after all the brouhaha — and newbie CEO Meg Whitman has only just started articulating her vision for HP, when out pops this new platform.

The announcement was made at HP’s Vienna annual bash, but given the grumpy faces around the HP boardroom table after former CEO Leo Apotheker’s alternative vision for HP saw share prices dropping by as much as 30%, something good really had to come out of the Discover conference, which is underway at the moment.

The result is that HP has extended its Information Optimization offerings; and a lot of offerings there are."
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