How NC State tackled big data and patents

NCSU So recently I have been getting questions on the usability/consumability of our big data technologies. Hadoop, as an open source project, as at some times reminded me the first times I was attempting to configure my own Linux server in the days before enterprise deployments were developed. I remember being offered an array of technologies and capabilities, yet all with different levels of maturity. While one piece of the deployment goes smoothly, you run into a wall with the other component that is perhaps only in beta. There is no central support # to call… and I usually had to rely on my classmates and professors at NC State (North Carolina State University) to help finalize the installation. This was definitely a hands-on learning experience (many times a nightmare), and I’m seeing that many big data initiatives are following a very similar pattern.

It’s pretty cool to know that one great example of big data technology in action, and ‘tangible’ in nature is the usage of our BigSheets offering actually by NC State. One of the ways that a university can raise money (um, make money) is through patent development. There are numerous technologies that are established at and through a university program, and many of them are submitted for a patent. While much of the process of getting to an approved patent is where the hard work lies, you still have to have someone that is willing to pay for the usage of that patent – else that patent just ends up collecting dust, instead of generating revenue.

North Carolina State University Centennial CampusThe point here is that NC State was (and is) sitting on piles of patents that were not generating income for the school. Technology research and development is their core strength, ..not sales and marketing. How can NC State then get these patents into the right hands of folks that would value them – yet do not know that they even exist? This is a simple, tangible problem for big data technologies,

Enter Big Sheets. IBM’s BigSheets is a revolutionary browser-based analytics tool that enables business users to extend the scope of their intelligence data through the web in a timely manner. In layman’s terms, it lets you visualize and play around with your own ‘big’ data.

NC State used Big Sheets to uncover targeted, digestible lists of partner prospects for licensing the technologies generated and produced at the school. By leveraging massive amounts of information (ie companies, organizations and departments across the globe) the university was able to simply leverage Big Sheets to accurately hack through and parse the pools of prospective partners through key words that the university would set up.

Check out this in-depth video on Big Sheets from the IBM Emerging Technologies team on the North Carolina State University implementation:

I want to note that this all started over 3 years ago, and the technologies in discussion here (Big Sheets, text analytics, etc.) are all a part of IBM’s BigInsights product – An enterprise big data solution that has Apache Hadoop at the core of it.

Many times we make things WAY too difficult to understand. There are way too many great technologies that are included in our big data and analytics solutions – sometimes you need to break down some of the respective pieces to get a better awareness of the ultimate value of the complete solution. At the end of the day we actually have to use this software – so let’s get better at getting it into your hands to play with.

Big data does not have to be that difficult….

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