Hybrid Data and How is it Driving Enhanced and Autonomous Cars

By Cynthia S. Artin October 10, 2018

Even as we continue to adapt to hybrid clouds, networks and applications, hybrid data management is becoming more of a focus for enterprises, particularly those investing in and rolling out IoT and Industrial IoT (IIoT) solutions.

This includes cars and other vehicles, which connected with mobile devices and operating systems, including iOS and Android, are adding new dimensions to the world of mobility.

Data in motion and data at rest has become a gold mine for enterprises who understand how to monetize it, for government organizations who understand how to analyze and act on it for smarter cities and regions, and unfortunately for the bad actors who are, according to the World Economic Forum, spending $1 trillion a year on applications designed to steal, manipulate and even control data and the systems that data feeds.

Hybrid data makes it possible to access, share and analyze data – structured or unstructured or a combination of the two – whether it is stored on-prem, in a public or private cloud or, as is the big trend, on devices where local compute is required for real time applications.

Hybrid data is a key focus for Actian, and after having been acquired earlier this year by HCL Technologies (a global company with $8 billion in revenue, operating in 41 countries, serving large enterprises), Actian is maintaining that focus, and expanding as part of HCL’s growing tech ecosystem.

Lewis Carr, Senior Director of Product Marketing at Actian, happens to love hybrid data and smart cars, and has been focusing a lot of his attention on innovation in accessing more and more data from connected vehicles.

“Over the years, the gradually increasing number of microcontrollers in cars has evolved from tasks such as monitoring emissions, tire pressure, combustion efficiency and a host of other core functional tasks to processors and local memory for in-dash GPS systems and other functions to differentiate the ‘experience’ for the driver,” Carr said.  “But these features miss the point of harnessing intelligence at the point of action based not on single disparate actions but a set of actions surrounding a persona.  It’s not about the car in and of itself; it’s about how much time people spend in their cars and what they’re doing while they are in them that really counts.  Smart Cars should be seen no differently than Smart Homes.  Why?  Because for most people in Urban areas around the world – from Bangkok to Boston – they’ve literally become our second home.”

Carr lives much of his life in his car, driving 150 miles to and from the company’s headquarters in Palo Alto. “If I make the trip during rush hour it’s rush half-day, if I make it a round trip in a single day, it’s more like 6 hours.  I’m awake in that car for more hours than I spend at home.  I can’t read anything, I can’t type, yet I’m trying to make the most of the hours.”

It is the human interactions and behaviors, combined with sensors in smart cars, that can be gathered, analyzed and used to make life more convenient for commuters and other drivers, including voice-activated assistants that can serve as friendly digital voices riding shotgun.

“The car needs to leverage information about my history of actions in prior drives across several apps that have nothing to do with the car itself – other than the GPS system and, in my case, charging stations,” Carr shared. “I’m busy, and I want to be productive in real time, so I can relax when I finally get home.”

Carr’s vision for helpful cars included reminders about calls and meetings, automatic dialing into those meetings, recommendations for a healthy restaurant, news and weather alerts, and even play lists driven by heart rate information from a health tracker.

Not only are these types of applications and these types of personal and confidential data at the very edge of the IoT, they are at the moving edge of IoT, and Actian is up for the challenge of making edge analytics and computing work, whether it is for basic processing of data to make local decisions on simple IoT devices, sensors and meters, to complex aggregation of streams of data from heterogenous sources.

This data can be analyzed using machine learning algorithms in the Cloud and deployed to the edge – and everything in between, according to Carr.

The traffic of data and sheer volume will make traffic jams on the freeways of California look like a happy meet up, and all that traffic – those extabytes of data – need local and distributed data management, for data in motion, and data at rest. Currently, smart car, smart city, smart region and smart home solutions are still sitting on a complex set of often unprotected file systems, databases and networks – even clouds.

Last month, Actian rolled out their Zen Core Database for Android, an edge database designed to make it easier for developers to embed enterprise capabilities directly into Android mobile apps.

It provides persistent local and distributed data across intelligent applications embedded in smart devices, enabling developers to “deploy data across branch and remote sites where it is accessible by thick clients, mobile thin clients or even IoT devices. Developers can also extend out to mobile workforces and operational technology environments with the same enterprise-grade architecture for data management. This can all be done without traditional field service and support burdens, integration costs or increased security risks often associated with mobile and IoT data management,” according to the company’s news release.

“Until now, data management options for Android have been rudimentary and limited, which ultimately limits the intelligence of an application whenever it is not connected or when bandwidth preservation or speed of response are considerations,” Lewis said. “With Actian Zen Core database for Android, developers can manage local persistent data, and also share it, without any of the integration or security challenges they often face from the cloud or server-side application components when connected.”

The Actian Zen Core database for Android is a NoSQL, zero DBA, embeddable, nano-footprint (2MB minimum) edge database for SIs, ISVs, OEMs, and Enterprise customers building in-house applications that need to embed a data management platform in their Android apps, from smartphones to POS terminals to industrial IoT. With direct data access via APIs, self-tuning, reporting, data portability, exceptional reliability, and compatibility, IoT and Edge developers can deliver apps at scale across a wide range of platforms. Developers can build apps using the Android SDK and other 3rd party tools to deploy on any standard or embedded platform running Android. Actian Zen Core database for Android supports zero ETL data sharing to any Actian Zen family server or client database.

“Real time IoT is only possible when we are able to manage data at the point of action and that takes a new definition of connectivity and compute, local and distributed,” Carr said.

Newly defined application gateways, for example, can take data from the cloud, the local environment, from a person’s wearable. “Orchestrating data out of those local applications based on the experience that consumer wants and what they are willing to give up takes management of permissions, access to the data, and interop between systems. Security and privacy issues are going to need to be standardized to build defenses and understand risk management. Developers can build truly enriching and useful services for people, but today trust is table stakes. Access control, encryption APIs need harmonization to create what is really driving momentum today – happy end users.”

Edited by Ken Briodagh
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Contributing Writer

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