Next week, I’ll be speaking about big data technologies at the Cloud Expo in New York City, June 7 – 9. The “expo” label is inspiring, reminding me of world expos throughout history. These huge national events feature exhibits, performances and activities, often with global, futuristic themes. The first event like this was “The Great Exhibition” in London in 1851. In the following decades, events became so popular that the Bureau of International Expositions formed in 1928 to oversee the calendar and consistency of expos. This bureau defines an “expo” by the grand scale and length of the events, three to six months. NYC’s Cloud Expo will only run for three days (complimentary registration link below!), but…
…we hope that it also inspires attendees with futuristic glimpses into a data-driven future beyond our wildest dreams. Flying databases, anyone? I’m only half-kidding. Today’s data and cloud technology inventors have made giant strides. Consider Hadoop, NoSQL or other new technologies that help companies collect and analyze billions of data points a day. To a 1980s DBA, this might have seemed as far-fetched as Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone, showcased at Philadelphia’s Centennial Exposition in 1876. Can you imagine what those attendees would have thought about an iPhone?
Some inventions don’t change the world, but nevertheless leave a lasting impact. Heinz introduced its ketchup at the 1876 Centennial Expo. Heinz was also an early pioneer in marketing, promising a free “pickle-charm” to lure foot-traffic to its tucked-away booth at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Arguably, the first trade-show giveaway ever.
Expos often featured bleeding-edge ideas long before they could be viably executed. Not far from next week’s Cloud Expo sits the site of the 1964 World’s Fair, in Flushing Meadows, NY, marked by the iconic Unisphere built for the event. (Interestingly, the ‘64 World’s Fair was not officially sanctioned as an “expo” by the international bureau, for a variety of reasons.) Here many attendees first experienced live video in the form of Bell Lab’s Picturephone, a primitive video conferencing service that transmitted grainy, low-resolution images. An early version of the grainy, low-resolution videoconferencing we enjoy today!
Kidding aside, with new and evolving technologies, there’s often a long ramp between idea, execution and broad-scale adoption. Take big data and cloud technologies, now moving beyond the realm of futuristic to become a business imperative. This happened quickly, and technology cycles are only getting more compressed. Knowing what's on the horizon is helpful.
While I won’t have pickle charms, I still hope you come to my session, “Tech Primer: Big Data Services for the Cloud,” a category somewhere between ketchup and the telephone on the invention-impact scale. We’ll take an unbiased look at the technologies, market research and use cases that are shaping cloud data processing today. If you’ll be in the area, there’s still time to get your complimentary pass for the event, via this link. Come get inspired at the Expo!
Research and sources for this article available on request.