by Jelani Harper
Cloud Computing is arguably the hub of the technologies that are at the forefront of the contemporary Data Management landscape. It enables the best of them—Big Data, analytics, mobile access—to work together as a synthesis that is greater than the sum of the individual parts.
Whether it’s being used as a means of integrating data from different sources and physical locations, provisioning analytics on sets of Big Data, or merely functioning as a means of backing up data, the Cloud’s scalability and ubiquitous accessibility is swiftly making it the platform of choice for any variety of IT concerns.
A recent example of the Cloud’s viability within Data Management is evinced by Digital.NYC, an interactive website for technology and startup companies that is the culmination of private/public consortium between the city of New York, IBM, and myriad IT companies within the five boroughs.
Although the purpose of the site is to provide a comprehensive platform for all things tech-related in New York City (from finding jobs to procuring funding for entrepreneurships), it actually alludes to something much greater—the potential of the Cloud to facilitate the optimal interaction of any number of Data Management technologies.
Digital.NYC was overseen by New York City and created by Gust utilizing IBM Bluemix, the software and research giant’s proprietary Cloud platform technology. Bluemix was leveraged to combine the technologies and efforts of numerous NYC-based companies such as the New York Daily News, Meetup.com, and Coursehorse, to provide an interactive website to facilitate the sharing of resources and information pertaining to IT throughout the city. Subsequent to the site’s launching on October 1, Bluemix will continue to power the Web platform and combine applications and technology from various vendors and individuals to maintain frequent updates.
Bluemix runs on IBM’s global Softlayer Cloud infrastructure which facilitates public, private, and hybrid Clouds and is compatible with dedicated or shared servers in both bare metal and virtualized environments. It is regarded as ideal for applications that are created in the Cloud and for Cloud deployment, as some of those that enhance Digital.NYC are.
According to Robert LeBlanc, Senior Vice President of Software and Cloud Solutions at IBM, the goals of the aforementioned site and the Cloud’s potential are strikingly similar:
“These ventures and others are shaping how applications, services and products are being delivered and consumed. It used to take startups months to build, deliver and market their products and services. But now, it’s drastically reduced because the Cloud allows them to do the same in a matter of just days and hours. So the opportunity to innovate and the speed of innovation are dramatically improved.”
NYC and IBM
IBM’s work on Digital.NYC is merely the latest in a committed partnership between the software company and New York City. That partnership includes the location of IBM’s The Watson Group in the heart of Greenwich Village on Astor Place; IBM recently allocated a billion dollars to this group to develop Cognitive Computing applications and improve its cognitive prowess. The Watson Group is also allied with the New York Genome Center to develop treatment options based on cognitive technologies for cancer patients. IBM’s Cloud technologies are also leveraged by a number of IT service providers in New York City, such as Startup 8 Path Solutions and Measurence. The former provides Data Science and analytics options for clients, whereas the latter provisions analytics intelligence for retailers in physical locations based on mobile technologies. Regarding the burgeoning success of Digital.NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio noted:
“Why did it work? Because of an extraordinary sense of partnership—a public private partnership—of the best kind. [It was the] private sector and government coming together and saying ‘we have a possibility of doing better here; we have something we need to break through, something we need to amplify. How do we find a way to do it?’ And it was a natural partnership and a tremendously successful one.”
IBM’s Bluemix Cloud platform helps to facilitate a number of different facets of Digital.NYC to make it an exhaustive resource for the city’s growing tech community. The site offers profiles of nearly every potential investor and IT company in New York City that is augmented by an interactive map of the location of such enterprises. It also features job listings and an events calendar for the community, as well as a number of news briefings, articles, and videos relevant to the industry. Additionally, the site provides information pertaining to IT-related classes and to start-up culture, with prudent advice such as “get funding”, or “get a job” to supplement a number of details regarding the development of connections, workspaces, and venture accelerators.
All of these features are accessed via a database and a unified search portal. The purpose of aggregating these resources onto one site is to reinforce the idea of community, while emphasizing collaboration and innovation to help make NYC as renowned for IT as it is for its other characteristics, such as finance and art. Virtually no detail is beyond the site’s area of focus—for instance, there are widgets for helping those in the industry decide whether it is better to work in Silicon Valley or New York City, as was gleefully demonstrated by Gust CEO David Rose during the launch of the site earlier this month:
“Digital.NYC is the single site for everything happening in the New York City Tech community,” Rose said. “Unlike everything else that you’ve seen before, it’s not a static site. Every single thing on this site is generated live in real time from a dozen different companies who are working in the community; whether to provide funding, to provide office space, [or] to provide classes, they’re all generating this here.”
The unveiling of Digital.NYC is significant for a number of reasons. It is indicative of the collaborative efforts between the public and private spheres in regards to information technology and its figurative lifeblood, data. Additionally, it is demonstrative of the efforts of one of the most eminent U.S. cities to embrace and foster innovation regarding IT and the many different industries that it influences across public and private spheres.
Most importantly, it attests to the vitality of the Cloud in contemporary Data Management and emphasizes the fact that Cloud Computing is the crucial connector between the bevies of technologies that dominates the IT landscape. Digital.NYC is merely one application of the Cloud’s potential to impact the sharing, accessing, and analyzing of data—the range of uses for it are innumerable and as varied as those for data themselves. In this regard, IBM’s efforts in enabling the interactivity of Digital.NYC with its Cloud technologies may simply be a harbinger of things to come. LeBlanc commented that:
“We join New York City here in the view that today’s announcement is more than just introducing a new digital platform for the tech community. This is more about a launching pad for economic development, innovation, and a new way to engage the next generation of entrepreneurs… We want to bring the big lights and the big dreams that have made New York the capital of the world; we want to bring that all together and be part of that.”