How EMC is giving Lotus F1 a Big Data edge

For several years, businesses around the world have been implementing big data analytics to speed up their processes and improve productivity. Few have taken it as far as the Lotus F1 team.

Simplifying Big Data

The Lotus F1 team recently made the move to EMC’s V-Blocks server architecture, allowing them to use data in more simple and innovative ways. Anthony Smith, Lotus F1’s converged infrastructure specialist, explains: “We’ve had the V-blocks around 18 months now. We were using a set of different hardware from various vendors before. This has been one of the big changes for us.” Switching to one provider for everything helped to simplify the process. “We have one provider and one system that we know works together. We keep it as simple as possible so we have one company to contact if something goes wrong.”

Custom analytics

Using EMC tools has enabled the team to collect vast amounts of data and make significant changes and adjustments to their factory and processes.

“All the time the car runs we’re gathering data from it. It’s constantly streaming, even when it’s just in the garage. It’s producing around 60GB of data per weekend,” he said.

“Then we’re using that to analyse and refine the performance, and find improvements. We’re working to improve our competitiveness through the data.”

Testing and climate challenges

Given new limitations on the amount of real-world tests the team can do, the use of data analytics has become even more important in today’s racing environment.

“We’re not allowed to test during the year. We do three tests at the beginning of the year – that’s three weeks of testing – and then during the year we have four days in total throughout the year that we can test the car that isn’t a race weekend,” he said.

“This is why the simulation and the data analysis is so important because we can’t just decide to test it on the circuit. There are so many possibilities for the car and we’ve got to turn up at the circuit and pretty much know exactly how it’s going to be and what’s going to happen.”

The converged future

Moving forward, Smith wants to continue the team’s move towards a hyper converged infrastructure.

“We’re looking at whatever we can get our hands on. We’ve seen the whole virtualisation hybrid cloud infrastructure develop over the last few years and that’s helped us massively,” he said.

“We’re looking towards boosting our resilience. Looking at X-Racks VSpex Blue, hyper converged, the next step on.”

“If we can get more performance for less size, weight and power on the track that’s another advantage for us.”

To find out more you can read the full article on V3.co.uk

Can Data Science Unlock the Secrets of the Morecambe Missile?

Yesterday John McGuinness, aka the ‘Morecambe Missile’, set a new lap record for electric bikes at the Isle of Man TT to grab a record-breaking 22nd win on this track.

This amazing feat seals the Missile’s reputation even further as a truly legendary motorcycle racer. But what is it that makes him so successful?

Earlier this year, EMC ran two competitions to answer this question by outfitting John’s bike and suit with an array of sensors as John rode round the Circuit Monteblanco in Spain. EMC captured over 700,000 rows of performance, biometric and mechanical data, including engine RPM, lean angle, g-force, pulse and respiration.

Connecting sensors to the bike

The data was then hosted on a CrowdANALYTIX platform in an open competition where over 750 data-enthusiasts analysed the data in an attempt to uncover the most compelling insights into why John is so fast.

The first winner, Stefan Jol, from a leading UK radio group, was able to show which stages of the race had the most impact on overall performance, and Charlotte Wickham, assistant Professor of Statistics at Oregon State University, demonstrated the impact of differences in cornering. Take a look at the full story here to learn more about the winning insights.

The bike

The same data capture has now been repeated at the Isle of Man TT races with a more elaborate array of sensors to capture even more data. Jonathan Martin, CMO, EMC says: “We were really excited to see how big data can provide revealing new insights about someone like John McGuinness, and have been thrilled with the interest shown in this project from the data science and motorcycling communities around the world. A project like this has never been undertaken before, and is already proving some interesting and significant observations. We are gaining a better understanding of what makes extreme athletes like John perform at such a superior level, but also through big data analytics we are gaining deep insights into how we can make the sport of motorcycle racing safer.”

The project has been documented in a film, the trailer of which can be found at the first link on this microsite here – and it’s well worth a watch: http://www.emc.com/microsites/morecambe-missile/index.htm. It will be released in full later this year.

John McGuinness riding

EMC picks up European Best Workplace Award

EMC has been recognised as one of Europe’s Best Multinational Workplaces in the Best Workplaces 2015 awards announced last week. Every year the Great Place to Work Institute surveys some 6,000 organisations around the world to find companies that encourage workplace cultures of high trust and engagement. Due to the success of EMC’s operations in 12 national Best Workplace rankings across Europe, the company ranked an impressive second out of a field of 25 multinationals.

Ever since EMC came 19th in the 2012 awards, its ranking in these prestigious employer awards has improved year on year. This shows the strength and quality of EMC’s people, from senior leadership setting the strategy and direction to the employees on the front line. EMC’s EMEA President, Adrian McDonald said: ‘A key factor of EMC’s success is our focus on building our strength as an employer and creating the kind of workplace that attracts and retains the best talent, talent which focuses on meeting customers’ needs by helping them optimise their existing infrastructures and build new ones.”

Head to the career page to learn more about the company and what it’s like to work for EMC.

A different perspective on hybrid cloud – illustrations

What are the catalysts that lead people to deploying a hybrid cloud? This was the question we tackled with a number of EMC and industry professionals in the second hybrid cloud Twitter chat a couple of weeks ago.

This led to some great discussions around the issues IT departments are facing and the changing role of IT, which are well worth a read. You can find them in full here:  https://www.crowdchat.net/HybridCloudChat.

In addition, we had a very talented illustrator on board to follow the conversation, and produce live sketches of some of the key topics that came up. You may have seen some of them around on Twitter, but please do take a look below at the full collection.

If you’re interested in learning more about EMC’s Hybrid Cloud, visit our solution page for further information and demos.

Can today’s businesses meet the needs of our Information Generation?

In our previous blog post we looked at the needs of our ‘Information Generation’ and unearthed increasing demands on our data. But, how are businesses fairing to adapt to those needs? To find out, we asked 3,600 Director-to-C-Suite business leaders across 18 countries, how technology is changing their businesses and how they are preparing for the future.

It’s no surprise that 96% of respondents believe that technology has fundamentally changed the rules of business and 93% report that these technology advancements are resetting customer expectations. The report revealed that customer expectations are faster access to services, 24/7 and “everywhere” access and connectivity, access on more devices, and a more unique personalised experience.

Within this study, business leaders agreed that transformation is critical and identified five “make or break” business attributes, all of which have information at their core:

1. Predictively spot new opportunities in markets

2. Demonstrate transparency and trust

3. Innovate in agile ways

4. Deliver unique and personalised experiences

5. Operate in real time

While business leaders agree these attributes are a high priority, only very few address them very well. Only 9% of global businesses innovate in an agile way and only 11% deliver a personalised experience.

The challenges don’t end here. Soon, every element of life will be data-driven and we will see value shifting from products and services to the information they generate. Despite the growing importance of data, nearly 50% of respondents admit to not knowing how to get value from their data and only 24% consider themselves “very good” at turning data into useful insights and information.

The pressure facing businesses is growing and most are struggling to embrace the critical attributes that would make a difference. Take our online survey to see how you compare and find out more about our Information Generation research online.

Study reveals: A highly demanding ‘Information Generation’

Are today’s youth our most demanding customers? We worked with Opinium to investigate and speak with 18-24 year olds in the UK & Ireland. What was unearthed was a lack of brand loyalty when providers can’t meet their needs.

Born in the era of the internet, todays ‘Information Generation’ is very much immersed in social media and the use of ‘smart’ phones. In our study they have shown demanding requirements over their suppliers across retail, financial services and technology, media and entertainment sectors. Control over personal data is their biggest concern: 54% of respondents suggest they’d switch providers if their current one didn’t give them control over their personal data.

Out of all three sectors surveyed, the financial services industry seems to face the greatest pressure when it comes to customer loyalty: 58% of 18-24 year olds would be willing to switch to a competitor if their current provider didn’t give them control over their personal data, marginally more than those that would switch if their provider suffered a data breach (53%), or didn’t provide mobile services e.g. via an App (40%).

Despite slightly stronger customer loyalty in the retail and technology, media and entertainment sector, the results still show a lack of loyalty to any one provider who can’t cater to the needs of today’s Information Generation. 57% in retail and 51% in tech, media and entertainment would switch suppliers, if their current provider didn’t give them control over their personal data. Moreover, 53% in retail would switch if their provider suffers a data breach compared with 47% in tech, media and entertainment.

The pressure facing businesses to cater for these consumers is becoming clear but how are they fairing in meeting those needs? In our next blog post we will a closer look at business leaders across 18 countries to find out how they are coping with fulfilling these demands.

What are the catalysts for the hybrid cloud? People, Process and Technology

Hybrid cloud continues to be a hot topic in the IT industry, but what does it actually mean for businesses?

HybridCloudchat2_Hans_410-412In the first #HybridCloudChat we spoke about what hybrid cloud actually is, and where businesses are on their journey to deploying it. Next Tuesday at noon, we’ll be expanding on this conversation and looking at the problems businesses are facing with regards to people, process and technology. We’re exploring catalysts for the hybrid cloud.

The chat will be hosted by Hans Timmerman, CTO of EMC Netherlands, along with a panelist of industry experts: Christian McMahon, CIO at Three25, Eric Debray, Business and IT Consultant and founder of Mageli, and Dinko Eror, EMC’s VP of Global Services.

We also have a professional illustrator on board who will creating sketches of the discussion as it develops – take part in the conversation and you could win a personalised illustration! If you have any questions, just tweet them at @emcuki.

Join us at 12.00PM on May 19th for #HybridCloudChat #2

For an introduction on the issue, take a look at Hans’ recent post on LinkedIn, or read more about business disruption, catalysts and catastrophes from Dinko.

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#HybridCloudChat Highlights

Dinko_thumbLast week, we held EMC’s first ever illustrated Twitter chat on the topic of hybrid cloud. Hosted by EMC’s VP of Global Services, Dinko Eror, the chat touched on the challenges businesses are facing when it comes to deploying hybrid cloud, and what is required to achieve a well-run hybrid cloud.

A big thank you to everybody who took part – it was great to see the involvement from people the world over, and from the discussion it’s clear that for many the hybrid cloud adventure is only just starting. You can see the chat in full here on Crowdchat and we’ve summarized the key themes and conclusion below.

Defining Hybrid Cloud

Is hybrid cloud simply a combination of public and private, or is it more? Just like with baking a cake, you need all the right ingredients, and a good chef to ensure they’re combined in the right way. Otherwise, despite investing in all of the resources of a hybrid cloud, you may see none of the benefits. True hybrid means controlling your workloads, storage and network resources so it limits risk and increase productivity, i.e. you need public and private cloud infrastructure, made transparent by a management platform. For us, of course, this is where solutions come in that can accelerate the adoption: VCE VBlock or EMC VSPEX , as well as the light-weight, software-defined storage solution EMC VIPR.

Challenges to hybrid cloud adoption

For some, there is clearly an expectation that it will be really difficult to deploy hybrid cloud. However, with fully engineered solutions available, technical complexity is immediately reduced. Security, data control and legacy contracts can still be a concern. For others, another issue limiting hybrid cloud adoption is that it can be hard to implement an architectural strategy when IT teams are focused on day to day application and infrastructure priorities.

Where can hybrid cloud best serve companies?

Although there are a lot of applications for hybrid cloud, it’s mainly the new, third platform applications that will really benefit from a hybrid environment. We’re talking apps that need to scale in some places, require performance in others and data protection in others still. On top of that, hybrid cloud will bring with it cost efficiency, and will allow IT to move at the speed of business.

When we discussed the types of business where hybrid cloud can best be applied – the answer seemed to be every one of them. The underpinning problem hybrid cloud addresses – of managing complex information management needs whilst containing spend, delivering scale and controlling risk – is universal in any business of any scale today.

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Orchestration and Standardisation

A properly orchestrated hybrid cloud lets you set policies and retain control over your data. That’s why it important to get it right. But who is in charge of orchestration? The CIO should make these decisions, but currently many are facing the challenge of juggling all the different demands coming from varying lines of business. This has to be brought together, and complexity must be reduced to get the control back. Standardisation is key and many hybrid cloud adopters see this as a key factor in delivering the benefits hybrid cloud has to offer.

Essentially, in order to have a well-run hybrid cloud and to experience all the benefits that come with it, people, process and technology need to be aligned.

For more information, please visit our website at http://emc.im/EHC_UK

This was originally posted on the EMC Thoughtfeast Blog

How can we convince patients their data is safe?

Following news of patient data being sold, James Norman, UK Public Sector CIO, EMC, considers what’s required to change the perception of data use in healthcare.

This week’s news that medical records have been sold following data capture when claiming insurance or purchasing holidays or medical products is concerning to anyone who wants more transparency as to how their data is going to used. Equally, the news that NHS patient details have been sold after prescriptions were purchased online is hugely damaging to the data discussion in the healthcare sector. The reality is that there are huge opportunities for improving patient care and driving efficiencies in healthcare through better use of data, but stories such as these are damaging patient confidence and their likelihood to share data in the future.

Within the healthcare sector, data can be used to create a more predictive and personalised healthcare model; contributing significantly to medical research and a more positive patient experience.

Ultimately this can shift the NHS from an illness to a wellness model.

Informatics can now identify the risk factors that put the patient at high risk of developing a condition and help tackle it before it strikes. Monitoring patients using data can also dramatically improve care management. A recent report from EMC and Volterra highlighted the need for acceleration in the uptake of data analytics techniques and technologies to drive £16bn or more in efficiency savings to plug the NHS funding gap.

With all these potential benefits available to the healthcare sector, it’s crucial the discussion isn’t shut down before it’s even begun. It’s essential consumers understand how data can be used to benefit them and the wider population, rather than feeling as though their data is being used solely to aid sales and increase insurance premiums. As part of this, it’s crucial the government scrutinise legislation to ensure patient data is protected and to ensure a greater transparency around how data is being used in healthcare. The major challenge sits in providing proof points for data, leading to greater good and encouraging best practice across the entire healthcare sector.

The future of healthcare will require the right people to have access to patient’s data, with their consent, allowing them to provide appropriate care based on a full understanding of the patient’s history. This can drive real change in how we are able to predict and tackle health problems across the population, particularly around chronic diseases, and drive an efficient and effective health service in the UK.

Until that point, it’s down to the government and industry to tackle the data challenge together and convince patients that giving access to some of their personal data will be beneficial to the health of the nation and, ultimately, their own.

 

The future of digital: A deep-dive into party manifestos – Labour and Liberal

With the May elections looming, predictions are in full swing as to how technology and digital transformation would develop under each political party. In a previous post we looked at the work the Conservative Party has done and their intentions for the future, but what do the other parties have in store?

Digitisation under the Labour Party

Labour has shown an increasing interest in digital issues in recent months. For example, in November, the Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Chi Onwurah published details of her party’s Digital Government Review.

Like the conservatives, Labour would broadly-speaking continue much of the current agenda, including work with the Government Digital Services (GDS) to digitise public services, making smarter use of data and reforming procurement. Labour also favours the use of common architectures based on open standards, opening up APIs and developing more agile and innovative solutions.

However, there are some noteworthy changes. Most importantly, Labour wants to focus on trust, transparency and security, particularly in relation to the use of citizen data. The party intends to publish a review of data sharing and privacy within 90 days of entering office, providing citizens with more information and control over their data. Citizens’ ownership of their own data will be more explicit and new limits will restrict the government’s ability to pass data on to third parties for commercial gain without their consent.

Labour wishes to emphasise digital inclusion and skills, for citizens and within the public sector. From a citizen perspective, digital services would be designed to be accessible by all members of society, including the most excluded and disadvantaged. Investment would be made in boosting citizens’ digital skills to ensure everyone is able to use digital services. To focus on the most difficult social problems rather than cost reduction, Labour wants to apply a ‘social benefits test’ to new digital services.

This would apply equally to local and central government, and Labour would do more to encourage local authorities to collaborate and develop shared services. For the public sector, leadership and skills are to be a higher priority, and government transformation a Cabinet level priority. Finally, Labour aims to provide more training to improve digital skills throughout the civil service.

The Liberal Democrats’ test the tech waters

Of the three main parties, the Liberal Democrats have said the least about applying technology to transform the public sector. A handful of figures, notably Julian Huppert and Lord Wallace of Saltaire, are getting more engaged in the digital revolution and have recently helped their party to launch an Entrepreneurs Network to engage with the tech sector and help influence the development of Liberal Democrat policy. Like Labour, the party’s starting point is to place greater emphasis on digital inclusion and the protection of individual rights in areas like data sharing, rather than simply aiming for cost savings.

Having looked at all three parties’ policies it’s clear there is a considerable amount of consensus over the digital agenda. This is hardly surprising given that all three parties are committed to delivering significant spending cuts in the next Parliament, £24.9bn by the Conservatives, £5.2bn by Labour and £7.9bn by the Lib Dems. Regardless of the make-up of the next government, it will need to think digital, build on the progress achieved to date and accelerate the pace of transformation to delivery services more efficiently to meet citizens’ rising expectations.