One of FME Server 2012’s most exciting new features is its real-time capability. We sat down with Safe Software President and Co-founder Don Murray to get his take on what real-time means to FME users.
FME Insider: Don, what are the implications of real-time for FME Server?
Don Murray: This is huge. Historically FME was a batch-oriented system – users would set up jobs and run them on-demand, as a batch, or on a schedule. Now you can apply FME’s powerful transformation capabilities to information as it’s happening.
FI: So this is a real jump forward from traditional data transformation.
DM: It really is. With FME, we always talk about formats – the more we support, the more you can do. Now, we’re talking about protocols on top of that. You can use email, HTTP, FTP, UDP – even Dropbox technology where you just drop a file somewhere and FME Server is waiting to take it in and transform it.
FI: What are FME users doing with this?
DM: We are seeing some highly creative projects coming out. Sensors are proliferating at an amazing rate – take a look at cosm.com’s “Internet of Things”. FME can take in sensor data feeds, make decisions based on rules, and take action – like broadcasting an alert to mobile devices in an area when extreme weather events are threatening.
Transit customers can see where the bus is, even get a notification when it’s approaching. And field reporting of information – say crime, traffic, or damaged infrastructure – produces instantly actionable knowledge. It’s about more than just sensors, too – this can completely change the way we manage and deliver data.
FI: Let’s explore that. How can conventional FME users benefit?
DM: Look at the evolution of our industry. Organizations want to get data to more people, and then more current data to more people, and we’re continuing down that path. Now the users can access the most current data possible – and we can proactively tell them where changes occur that they care about.
FI: What’s the most exciting thing to Don Murray about real-time?
DM: It’s the possibilities! The loop of communication between mobile devices and central databases has such power. Imagine standing in a vacant lot, sending a photo from a phone, and having an instant evaluation of slope, soil, vegetation, and zoning rules – and an answer about whether or not you can build there. And being able to move over 50 feet and do it again. The potential is mind-boggling.
Watch the FME 2012 World Tour presentation on these new features at www.safe.com/realtimevid