SAS Global Forum 2016: The Internet of Things Takes Center Stage

At the SAS Global Forum in Las Vegas, SAS delivered three major product announcements: Customer Intelligence 360, which aims to provide marketers with a complete view of their customers; the Viya architecture, designed to tackle Big Data and machine learning; and Analytics for IoT, which seeks to optimize performance and profits for sensor-enabled enterprises. Meanwhile, the IoT was a hot topic among speakers throughout the day.

Customer Intelligence 360 aims to break down the digital silos limiting marketers by uniting customer data from multiple channels. The solution goes beyond collecting information from channels such as email and the Web by also incorporating customer touch points such as in-store interactions and contact centers. It also features embedded analytical processes such as automatic segmentation and self-learning algorithms.

Viya is SAS's latest analytics and visualization architecture and is designed for a range of skill levels. Viya is highly scalable and can be deployed in the cloud or onsite. SAS plans to deliver a range of offerings for Viya in 2016, including SAS Visual Analytics, SAS Visual Statistics, SAS Visual Investigator, and SAS Visual Data Mining and Machine Learning.

Analytics for IoT takes SAS's Big Data analytics expertise and applies it to the ever-growing number of sensors and devices. The solution seeks to assist organizations in making decisions based on rapid influxes of data, combining streaming technology, analytics, and domain expertise with the goal of transforming IoT data into insights.

The session "Internet of Things: What's Working, What's Not" explored making full use of the IoT: "It is about enabling smart equipment, machines, sensors, and devices with intelligent software to give access to information at different levels of an operation, or for an individual person," said Elizabeth Parkinson, director of market development for the connected enterprise at Rockwell Automation, who co-presented with Tamara Dull, director of emerging technologies at SAS Best Practices.

But the Internet of Things is not without its concerns, and the pair outlined one: security. Parkinson said that companies "need to have a multilayered defense-in-depth approach" to security, and Dull added that privacy concerns are not simply an issue of a single company's policy but how that company "interacts with the government, and how it interacts globally."

Another issue is interoperability, Parkinson said: "We need to keep looking at how do we start teaming across different parts of the organization to have common ways that we're collecting information, utilizing it, and sharing that throughout the organization." She emphasized the need to bridge the gap between those working in information technology and those in operations technology.

Dull noted that success with the Internet of Things will also hinge on reconciling the high speed of technology with both customers' and organizations' skill levels. 

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