"Continuous intelligence is about keeping a live set of analytic information available to drive faster actions," explains John Morrell, Coral8's director of product marketing. "That could mean responding to customer needs, reacting to revenue opportunities, making faster trades, isolating service delivery problems or mitigating risk." Though he could not cite practitioners by name, Morrell says Continuous Intelligence has been pioneered in partnership with a number of Coral8's largest customers. A major airline, for example, is said to have live profiles of its frequent fliers, including information about when, where and how they are checking in for flights. The airline can use these profiles to deliver real-time up-sell and cross-sell offers.
"If the airline notices that a frequent flier checking in at a kiosk is looking for a different seat, it could quickly check that flier's elite status and come up with a $150 first-class upgrade offer with an inducement of additional frequent flier miles that would qualify the flier for elite status," Morrell explains.
In another example, a major financial services firm is said to be slicing and dicing live information to serve multiple departmental needs: Brokers explore interest in specific types of financial instruments while execution managers examine order flow, risk managers assess profit-and-loss data and wealth managers measure customer satisfaction. "We've had a number of customers come to us and say they do not want a collection of event processing silos, they want a large-scale system that can serve multiple departmental needs," Morrell explains.
Continuous Intelligence is supported by a number of technical upgrades in version 5.5 of the Coral8 Engine and Coral8 Portal. A new "Shared Windows" concept (akin to materialized views in data warehousing) lets users model and build out live views of millions of streaming and static data points with dozens of possible metrics and dimensions. New subscriptions let users filter results based on values in specific fields while "Snapshot-Plus" queries support SQL-style queries that reveal current conditions and trend information. New charts and wizards in the Coral8 Portal are said to streamline the development and execution of custom queries.
Of course, analyzing vast data sets in real time requires a lot of memory and processing power. But Morrell says it can be done on a single, multi-CPU, multi-core box that can track vast data sets in persistent memory.
"The secret sauce is that we don't have to move the data," Morrell explains. "The Shared Windows maintain views of the data using pointers back to the master data. That lets us scale out multiple shared windows and multiple dimensions and metrics on the same set of base data."