Sunday, March 15, 2009

On Cool Event Processing

Thanks to a recent posting of Tim Bass, I have watched now a really cool video from the MIT Media Lab,
if you have not already done it, watch and enjoy ! still in early phases, but very impressive !

This brings us to two interesting questions:

  1. Does this demo show an event processing application ?
  2. Should creating cool applications be our target ?
As for the first question -- the main achievement of the MIT Media Lab video demonstration is the ability to point with the finger on some item (a person, a product in the supermarket etc..) and use image processing technologies to identify it, bring information from the Web, and screen it on the item itself (e.g. screen the Amazon book reviews on the book, screen annotations about the person on a person's body etc..). This is an extremely impressive blend of technologies, but not really an event processing. To me it looks as a request-response type of application and not event-driven. The action of pointing out an object is a request to identify it, which in turn sends another request to search the web. Not really event processing, but certainly very cool...

Which leads to the interesting question number 2 --- for sure, it is easier to impress and sell technologies through cool applications. Event processing has some cool applications in processing events in games, processing event in the smart house that automatically turns on and off the lights, re-stocks the refrigerator, and invites technician to fix the air condition. I think that the issue of event processing for the individual consumer market has not been investigated well, and in that context the "cool" stuff is certainly a good way to sell...
While looking at the majority of the work done today in event processing, it relates to enterprise computing, in enterprise computing the main criterion is ROI, there may be nothing exciting about an accounting, procurement or regulation enforcement applications, but since they are part of the enterprise's bread and butter, technologies that enable to the enterprise to do them more effective/more efficient may bring a lot of ROI. Since the decision makers are people, and decision making is not necessarily a rational process, cool demos are highly recommended...

More - Later.

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