Katherine Rincon
March 26, 2015 · 2 minute read

Using a stream analytics platform as a context broker enables businesses to stream their Big Data and gain insights as they occur to enable immediate action. Timing is everything; data needs to be current and it needs context to maximize value. For example, knowing that a high-value customer is evaluating particular product features — in the moment, enables businesses to cater helpful comparison content and relevant offers in realtime. Businesses can now create niche solutions by using a stream analytics platform that combines up-to-the-millisecond visibility with the greatest possible context to identify and resolve issues and maximize opportunities instantaneously.

Streaming data, (or “Fast Data” if you like) is becoming more prevalent in the enterprise from traditional sources like transaction systems, social feeds, web clicks, mobile data, and emerging source like Internet of Things sensors. Making smart decisions is dependent upon the ability to correlate the information from all of these sources as they come in, to obtain the full picture of what is happening right now. Context comes from analyzing historical reference data stored in traditional databases, BI infrastructures, and Big Data frameworks like Hadoop to determine “norms”.

Correlating Streams with Context Data at the Speed of Reality

Adding this context to streaming data requires correlating streams with static context data, all while not sacrificing throughput and latency. Running lookups against datastores (even very fast lookups) while processing streams can reduce the velocity of the data, and increase the time-to-action. The WebAction Realtime Stream Analytics Platform is fundamentally designed to correlate stream with context data without sacrificing performance. The platform allows for periodic loading of context data into memory, and then enables high-velocity correlation with realtime streaming data to deliver custom-built stream analytics applications.

Gartner refers to platforms that provide context in realtime as “Context Brokers”. In a January, 2015 report, Context Brokers for Smarter Business Decisions, Gartner analysts note that “Emerging patterns of digital business and the Internet of Things challenge organizations to be aware of current and historical context. IT strategy leaders are adopting context brokers, joining enterprise databases and big data with business analytics for smarter business decisions.”

To learn more about context brokers, read this recent research from Gartner:

Context Brokers for Smarter Business Decisions by Yefim V. Natis and W. Roy Schulte