Agility and Interoperability For Big Data: Behind the Hype

Dear Friends of IO Informatics,

Software technologies can make it much easier to integrate, analyze and make use of big data. That's easy to say, but actual business and information science benefits can be lost beneath hype and buzzwords. In the hands-on world of data science, agility and interoperability are two simple concepts that deliver real, sorely needed business benefits.

Innovative standards and methods for "semantic" software technologies are improving how the world links scientific data. These standards and methods bring agility and interoperability to immediate and long-term data integration demands. The World Wide Web Consortium, universities including MIT and Stanford, and product companies like IO Informatics have been working for decades on this common set of innovative standards and methods, purposefully designed for data integration in changing, open world data environments.

Why are agility and interoperability important, and what do these concepts mean to data-intensive businesses?

Agility for data integration means you can change, expand and update the structure and content of an integration much more easily than with traditional methods. This means you can start connecting data without having all of the information, or even all of the data you may ultimately want, before you start. With agile integration you don't need to know every question you may want to ask or every concept you may need in the database before you can start linking data. Even after a resource is integrated and put into use, you can add new concepts, new data sources and new standardized definitions required to keep up with the pace of science in an open world. You can do this without losing existing standardization or breaking the existing database schema, as is common in a traditional software environment. IOI's semantic technologies make agile data integration and searching possible. Traditional relational integration commonly require knowing what standards you want to use, what classes and relationships you will have, all of the data you anticipate integrating, and all of the questions you want to be able to ask. before you can start integrating data. This doesn't work well in a real, changing world. Semantic technologies solve this problem.

Interoperability - means data created in one place and time can connect easily to other data created in another place and time, without extensive collaboration to make that possible. Data integrated by IOI's semantic technology meets the most widely adopted global standards for interoperability. In addition to moving data into the W3C standard for linking information, IOI's semantic technology meets "FAIR" standards for data standardization and sharing [see Wilkinson M.D. et al. The FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship. Nature / Sci. Data 3:160018 doi: 10:1038 / sdata.2016.18 (2016)]. You can think of "pools" of clean and interoperable data ready to flow together to create "lakes" and "oceans" of useful information. Traditional relational database integration, while creating useful new resources, also creates new problems. Each new relational "datamart" or "warehouse" creates one more "data silo" or "data tomb" that is commonly very time consuming and difficult to connect with other relational silos. This doesn't work well in a real, changing world. Semantic technologies solve this problem.


IO is at the forefront of the semantic technology wave. The Company provides software and services for uniquely efficient data integration and transformative knowledge applications in life sciences, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and medical environments. IO is headquartered in Berkeley, California with offices in Canada and Europe. IOI works with life science and healthcare customers in industry, academia and not-for-profit foundations.

Sylvia Vallee
Marketing Manager
Tel 514-508-2338