Matt Langan speaks to Mladen Stojic, President of Hexagon Geospatial, in this HxGN News podcast about how Hexagon Geospatial is solving big data problems in 2014 by leveraging mobility, analytics, and cloud. You can hear the podcast, read the transcript of the podcast below, or download the podcast from iTunes.
Matt Langan: Thank you for joining us for today’s HxGN News podcast brought to you by Hexagon Geospatial. HxGN News is Hexagon’s all news portal that provides the latest information about Hexagon’s global network of brands. It is available at hxgnnews.com and you can sign up for monthly email updates. In today’s podcast we’re speaking with Mladen Stojic who is the President of Hexagon Geospatial. Mladen, how are you doing today?
Mladen Stojic: Good Matt, how are you doing?
Matt Langan: Doing great! Well let’s jump right in. I know we wanted to talk today about the Intergraph Geospatial 2014 portfolio. So let’s go ahead and talk about that from a high level. What makes this new portfolio so unique?
Mladen Stojic: As you know Matt we’ve been establishing an annual cadence that involves a synchronized release of our comprehensive geospatial portfolio that includes product lines that really reflect the entire geospatial or geographic information life cycle, so as things change under the surface we have the ability to take raw content and ultimately transform it with our photogrammetric product lines to data, through our imaging product lines to information, and ultimately through our server product lines to services or value added capabilities that can be extended and used on web clients, mobile devices, and other solution applications moving forward. So this is yet another annual release, the 2014 release and we’ve really tried to focus on three key themes those being mobility, analytics, and cloud. And some of the things we’ve focused on in order to leverage those three themes are things like solving the big data problem. As the world changes we have much more data and we’ve looked at how we can solve the big data challenge, not only by managing and cataloging data, but by ultimately improving the high through put of data production, being able to stream and deliver large files, large content, being able to manage that content, being able to fuse those multiple data sets in the form of modelling so people can get more information from the data that they produce. So what really makes this portfolio release unique is the fact that once again we’ve synthesized the key geospatial genres that are reflected in our portfolio, and ultimately looked to solve mobility issues, the ability to get content to the field and use it while being connected to the enterprise, the ability to perform on demand analytics, so it’s not just data but it’s information that can be processed and ultimately delivered to end users that makes sense. That’s ultimately levering the cloud as an enabling technology that facilitates the open sharing of information but also the updated information through cloud services, so that’s really the key areas of focus that we’ve established on for the 2014 release.
Matt Langan: That’s great! You know these themes that you’ve honed in on for this new launch that’s coming up, why is it so important these things for organizations, you know when it comes to mobility, analytics, cloud, big data management. What’s the organizational need that’s driving this change for you all?
Mladen Stojic: If I had to summarize systematically across all the industries that we operate in, that our customers work in on a day to day basis, if I had to summarize one thing it’s time. As things change on the earth we do our best to capture that change, record it, analyze it, process it, and ultimately deliver it to people who need to act and make decisions and act. That takes a lot of time and unfortunately time is critical, and we can’t afford to deliver mission critical systems that rely on the timely availability of information in order to act and make decisions. I’ll give you an example, when a landslide occurs across a coastal area and there are vacation homes; if there are homes and people live there and that landslide occurs, typically the first thing that happens is people call police, fire, ambulance for help. Responders get on scene; get on sight and try to save lives, property and so forth. The folks that are sent into the field they need information, they need it quickly. They typically tap into the pool of content and information they have, but they also sometimes need information about what happened. Typically you see the advent of UAV sensors flying, you need to be able to fly that data quickly, process it quickly, manage it quickly so other people can share it, get it and deliver it, not just as data but as information. you can’t afford to wait 4-5 days for that lifecycle to be executed. That’s got to happen within an hour, in minutes. So what we’ve done by leveraging cloud processing, by leveraging analytics, not just data but analytics of information through analytics, while also connecting users to the field through mobile devices, we’re doing everything we can to shorten the time it takes to collect the data, and ultimately get information to the people who need it in the field. That’s why it’s important, because lives are at stake; property is at stake, and ultimately our customer’s job is to make sure that they can respond and do their jobs in a timely manner with the information they need in order to be successful.
Matt Langan: What a great answer there Mladen, thank you so much for those insights. Give us a rundown on your vision about innovation.
Mladen Stojic: Absolutely, one of the things that I talked about at the Hexagon conference and I tried to make this as human as possible because I think at this day in age we cannot only position ourselves as technology providers we have to be about the experience. Anyone who builds software or devices or anything for the public now needs to think about what is the experience, it’s all about experience, that experience has to be human, that experience needs to be dynamic, and it ultimately needs to be easy and fun. And I think the geospatial industry has a lot to learn from the Apples of the world, the Googles of the world and so forth, on what it means to build an experience. So starting with that notion of an experience and extending that to an analogy I want to use with the brain and the human body. As human beings we have five senses we have the ability to see something, to touch something, to smell something, to hear something and we have the ability to taste something. We have these five sensors as human beings that basically record information. Whether we know it or not our brain automatically organizes, identifies, and synthesizes the information from these five sensors and the brain processes this information in real time, so that we, whatever it is that we’re doing we can make decisions and we can take action. As human beings we are sensors, we are dynamic real sensors that sense the world around us as things change, and we make decisions and we act upon that change. Now having said that, let’s push that forward and then align that with what we’re doing in the geospatial industry. As Hexagon we have sensors, we have the ability to work with many sensors, we have the ability to take satellite imagery from satellite sensors, airborne sensors, airborne optical, airborne LiDAR, terrestrial surveying equipment, terrestrial LiDAR sensors, mobile mapping sensors, GPS, surveying equipment, handheld mobile devises. We have the ability to sense the world as it changes. But, the big question is can our customers make sense of the data we sense? Unfortunately and it’s a systematic problem in the industry, it’s hard to make sense of the data that is collected from sensors. As an industry, we’re not as sophisticated as replicating what the human brain can do when it comes to organizing that information and ultimately deriving information so we can act and make decisions. So our vision, and our dream, and our hope moving forward is to take all of this sensory data and ultimately make sense out of it so our customers can make sense out of it. How do you do that? What are the challenges? I’ve already touched on several of them. One of the problems we have and that the brain does not have is the brain has the ability to automatically manage the data from the senses. We of course need sophisticated intelligence systems to do that. Metadata being critical, so we have to solve the big data problem because there is a lot of data with these sensors.
Secondly, analytics; there’s two sides to the analytics question. One side is the analytical processing, what we can aka call spatial modelling or spatial analysis, but the second thing that we commonly forget in our day to day business as geospatial experts is communication. You got to be able to communicate the results of any analytical process so that it’s important and it’s relevant to someone who needs to make sense of what’s happening on the earth’s surface. It could be a farmer, a forester, a war fighter, a policeman, a fire truck driver, an urban planner, an engineer, or a construction worker who needs to figure out where to dig before they dig. All of these people need information and they need to make sense of what’s happening around them. But we as an industry have failed them in terms of proving them the information they need to make sense. Our obstacles have been a lot of data, the lack of good analytics that can leverage all of these sensor types and the data from these sensors types and then the ability to communicate the results of that in a form that makes sense to that user. So if you ask me what is my vision, what is Hexagon’s vision when it comes to understanding our changing world, the vision is to make sense. The vision is to provide the necessary systems that our customers can use to make sense of the change that goes around them and we plan on doing that by shortening how long it takes to really sense something and turn it into something that you can act on. That life cycle has to be shortened from months, to weeks, to days, to hours, to minutes and to seconds.
Matt Langan: That’s great! I always love hearing your vision. Thank you so much for that. Now let’s talk quickly about the 2013 portfolio and about how the new Intergraph Geospatial 2014 portfolio extends this division of this which was really all about synchronizing all the technologies across Intergraph’s product lines, tell us a little bit more about that.
Mladen Stojic: So what we’ve done with the 2014 is effectively build off the 2013 release. As you rightly pointed out Matt, the 2013 release was the first time any company in this world basically delivered a comprehensive suite of products ranging from GIS, photogrammetry, remote sensing, operating not only on the desktop but on the server, the first time it ever happened. So we built up that platform of success and we’ve continued operationally by simplifying interfaces, by simplifying workflows, by streamlining how customers can fuse multiple data sources and ultimately get information. Things like the spatial modeler, something that we introduced last year, well we’ve built on that, we added more processing capabilities; more analytical capabilities to the spatial modeler, leveraging not only raster operators, but vector operators. So we’ve built off what we did in 2013 and extended that through 2014. Not only did we do that with the modeler but we also exposed an SDK so people can take our modeler and do more with it, script with it, build additional operators and capabilities with it. So we’re extending and moving beyond our traditional base, into new users, new areas where the technology can be extended to build solutions for different industry verticals. So that’s one way that we’ve built off 2013 and really launched into the 2014 platform. Another area is big data management. As you remember in Apollo we released point cloud data management last year, well this year we are offering; we started with raster the previous year in 2012, point cloud 2013, 2014 is all about feature data, vector data, so with 2014 we now offer the ability to find, describe, catalogue and ultimately deliver feature data as part of the Apollo solutions. So we’ve built off 2013 and are now launching 2014 with value added capabilities that sit on top of 2013. Moving beyond that if you look at what we did with GeoMedia last year we replaced one of the rendering and performance subsystems in GeoMedia and we introduced a new interface. Well this year we’ve added the ability to customize those interfaces and create custom workflows and custom templates inside of GeoMedia, we’ve added a simpler, cleaner packaging module configuration where customers can easily find the capabilities and features they need in order to do their jobs. So once again we’ve built off the same 2013 theme and extended that to beyond 2014. So we certainly used 2013 as a platform and added more capability, more value to our customers with the 2014 release.
Matt Langan: That’s great! Before we sign off Mladen is there anything else you’d like to add?
Mladen Stojic: There’s a lot of excitement around this release, we have a commitment to our customers to deliver annual releases. We want to stay close to the industry so that we can ultimately make sense of the world around us as it changes at a very, very dynamic rate.
Matt Langan: That’s great! What a great way to end this podcast! Mladen we really appreciate your time today, thank you for being our guest.
You all can learn more about Intergraph Geospatial online at geospatial.intergraph.com and to all of our listeners’ today thank you for joining us for today’s HxGN News podcast. Be sure to visit hxgnnews.com to read the latest news from our global network of brands and be sure to sign up for monthly email updates.