Category Archives: Technology

Two Big Data Trends to Watch

Smart Machine Technology pic

Smart Machine Technology

A successful finance, technology, and real estate entrepreneur based in Seattle, Washington, Benjamin “Ben” Shoval serves as president of Shoval & Co. In addition to his other professional interests, Ben Shoval keeps up with current trends in big data.

As with most other technology sectors, big data is a fluid environment. Innovation is always driving progress forward. With that in mind, here are two current trends to watch.

Smart machine technology is beginning to find its foothold among private companies, which are looking to scale down their human capital to clear additional revenue. These technologies are used to automate tasks via algorithmic means, typically in the realm of decision support. Some educational companies have implemented smart data systems that can grade essays and exams.

Over the past year, NoSQL technologies have gained in popularity. These non-schema database structures are beginning to show progressively more benefit. As an example of the growing popularity of NoSQL, NoSQL companies such as MongoDB and Redis Labs will soon outnumber the more conventional database vendors such as Oracle, Microsoft, SAP, and IBM, according to the 2015 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Operational Database Management Systems, an annual report comparing database vendors.


Some Keys to Understanding APIs

APIs pic


Seattle’s Benjamin “Ben” Shoval has rich and diverse career experience that began following his time at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 2000. In addition to managing the Shoval & Co. real estate portfolio, Ben Shoval has recently turned his attention to application program interfaces (APIs). Below are some keys to understanding this important concept for those who aren’t familiar with software development.

Very basically, an API allows limited access to the code in a piece of software. This makes it possible for developers to build programs that work in conjunction with other programs. For instance, many non-Google apps access Google Maps as part of their service. Other apps let users transfer content to Twitter with just a click. This sort of communication between software requires developers to use programming from Google and Twitter, but they are confined to the parameters specified by the API.

There’s ample room for growth in this sector, which is why some investors are intrigued. First, the possible applications of APIs are virtually limitless and potentially life-altering. Already, watches are communicating fitness data to remote software, which has big implications for healthcare. Additionally, managing APIs offers a growing niche for businesses as developers seek help with credentialing users, controlling access, and other operations.

Three Big Data Trends for 2016

Shoval & Company pic

Shoval & Company

Benjamin “Ben” Shoval serves as president of Shoval & Company in Seattle, Washington. In addition to his background in technology training and consulting, Ben Shoval also studies trends in big data and analytics.

CIO Magazine and Innovation Enterprise have published extensive lists on what they believe will be dominant topics in the 2016 data landscape. In their reports, there are three overarching themes that come up repeatedly.

Gathering Value from All Data

Scott Gnau, the chief technology officer for Hortonworks, draws upon the “Internet of Anything” concept that is an emerging mindset in the analytics community. He points to the importance of drawing data from every imaginable source, even going so far as suggesting parsing server logs and more implementation of geolocation technologies. His take-home point is that companies should mine value from all the data they can possibly collect.

Increased Accessibility

FirstFuel’s chief data scientist, Badri Raghavan, highlights the increased accessibility of data to those without extensive knowledge or background. He points to services like Amazon Mechanical Turk as examples of platforms that allow both individuals and businesses to gather data from areas they may not have been able to access before. He believes data will not only become easier to access, but with new tools, it will be easier to parse and draw value from than ever before.

Increased Focus on Security

This could likely be a trend every year, but with several high-profile hacks in 2015, you can bet security will be at the forefront of almost every big data conversation this year. Many governments around the world are exploring new laws to govern how data is accessed and secured, and many of them have different ideas about how to accomplish those things. The landscape will only become more complicated going forward.

Further, spending on security will become an even bigger priority for companies that deal with large amounts of data. Database safety in particular appears to be the major focus for 2016, as these have most often been the targets of hackers in recent memory.

Application Programming Interfaces Briefly Explained

application programming interfaces pic

application programming interfaces

A successful Seattle-based entrepreneur, Benjamin “Ben” Shoval oversees Shoval & Co., a private market investment company he founded in 2004. Prior to launching his current company, Ben Shoval founded Technology Training and Consulting Group, which provided on-site computer training. Today, he maintains an avid interest in various technological topics, including application programming interfaces (APIs).

Simply defined, an API is a set of standardized programming instructions, requirements, and routines that enable applications to communicate with one another. On a system level, APIs enable programs like Microsoft Office to run on top of the computer’s operating system and make it possible for a user to transmit information between programs.

Web-based services like Facebook, Yelp, and Pinterest, on the other hand, use APIs to allow other software apps to share their data and access their offerings. In this respect, APIs play an important role in social networking and have helped shape the Web into what it is today.