A lot has been written and said about the Internet of things – billions (and growing) of devices connected to us, and to each other. The noise is almost deafening and sometimes hard to decipher. All of the devices, sensors, networks, standards, security, business processes, people and use cases layer on top of one another, and you’re left wondering about the optimal way to translate technology hype into impact on your business.

Given the complexity, what’s most important is getting your hands dirty, tinkering and working with the data to find innovative solutions. This fail forward approach to problem solving is a defining mantra for us at Teradata. We are quietly working on cutting through the hype, to help our customers create business value from sensors and other forms of Internet of Things data. We’re different because we are problem solvers at our core. We’re solely focused on putting our smartest people to work, in the most agile and innovative ways, to solve the toughest IoT problems for our customers.

We are quietly working on cutting through the hype, to help our customers create business value from sensors and other forms of Internet of Things data

Crowdsourcing Business Solutions
A case in point is our internal hackathons, which bring together hundreds of Teradata employees – engineers, developers, data scientists, marketers and industry consultants – to solve difficult IoT problems for our friends at Statoil, Siemens and Caterpillar. A recent hackathon brought together 100+ participants and 16 teams to test approaches – in technology-agnostic ways – to ingest, analyze and visualize sensor data.

The participants were provided with massive data sets and the latest technology tools to come up with the smartest and simplest ways to create new IoT solutions. We provided our UDA environment (Teradata data warehouse, Aster discovery platform, Hadoop, Presto SQL tool and RainStor data storage) along with supporting tools and services (Listener, Aster AppCenter, Tableau and others) in an Amazon AWS public cloud environment. The contestants didn’t have to worry about infrastructure, just the IoT data and the best ideas of what to do with that data.

The Art and Science of the Oil Field
The winning team analyzed data from Statoil, a multinational oil and gas company headquartered in Norway. Statoil has a long history of using seismic sensors for its oil field monitoring program in the North Sea, which includes thousands of sensors in cables on the sea floor. The monitoring program regularly listens and records subsurface activity, sending a massive amount of information skyward. One of our hackathon teams took on the challenge of developing a data mining strategy to identify oil field events from this raw data. As a bonus, the team prototyped an early warning system that spots the onset of these events.

Imagine the possibilities. In tinkering with the data, our team was able to come up with an innovative approach that could lead to reduced costs for oil field operations in these challenging times.

And, it wasn’t just limited to oil and gas. Another team looked at train log file data from our customer Siemens to analyze roughly 8,000 failure events. They explored the data to identify patterns that correspond to maintenance needs of individual parts of the train. A third team analyzed sensor data from Caterpillar’s SuperCom2 edge data collection device for insights that can prevent costly failures. And, so on.

Tinkering, experimenting and innovating with sensor and machine data is the lifeblood of our work at Teradata, and is the only sure path to finding new IoT solutions that create new efficiencies and transforms businesses. It is about less talking and more doing, less hype and more business impact. The hackathons are one way we at Teradata are building the most groundbreaking IoT solutions for our customers.

Oliver Ratzesberger
Oliver Ratzesberger is President and Chief Executive Officer of Teradata Corporation and a member of the company’s board of directors. Mr. Ratzesberger has a proven track record in executive management, as well as 20+ years of experience in analytics, large data processing and software engineering.

Oliver’s journey started with Teradata as a customer, driving innovation on its scalable technology base. His vision of how the technology could be applied to solve complex business problems led to him joining the company. At Teradata, he has been the architect of the strategy and roadmap, aimed at transformation. Under Oliver’s leadership, the company has challenged itself to become a cloud enabled, subscription business with a new flagship product. Teradata’s integrated analytical platform is the fastest growing product in its history, achieving record adoption.

During Oliver’s tenure at Teradata he has held the roles of Chief Operating Officer and Chief Product Officer, overseeing various business units, including go-to-market, product, services and marketing. Prior to Teradata, Oliver worked for both Fortune 500 and early-stage companies, holding positions of increasing responsibility in technology and software development, including leading the expansion of analytics during the early days of eBay.

A pragmatic visionary, Oliver frequently speaks and writes about leveraging data and analytics to improve business outcomes. His book with co-author Professor Mohanbir Sawhney, “The Sentient Enterprise: The Evolution of Decision Making,” was published in 2017 and was named to the Wall Street Journal Best Seller List. Oliver’s vision of the Sentient Enterprise is recognized by customers, analysts and partners as a leading model for bringing agility and analytic power to enterprises operating in a digital world.

Oliver is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program and earned his engineering degree in Electronics and Telecommunications from HTL Steyr in Austria.

He lives in San Diego with his wife and two daughters.
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