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I can’t help but notice all the references to “real-time” lately—real-time AWD, real-time ABS, real-time computing, real-time communication, real-time arts, Real Time with Bill Maher, etc.—I even clicked on realtime.com… I got the message “Http/1.1 Service Unavailable” and the only thing I can say is that I was annoyed, in real-time! Seriously, if you search on “real-time”, Google estimates 1,850,000,000 results.
The use of real-time isn’t new to me. I’ve been listening to Progress talk about it since earlier than 2004. Progress had the bad (at least I think so) habit of organizing their development, marketing and sales efforts around how we are organized as a company. Sometime around 2004 the division that I worked in was actually called the Real-time Division (I have a hat to prove it). We went so far as to structure our website under www.progress.com/realtime/. This division developed, marketed and sold our ObjectStore and Apama product lines. Today we’re organizing ourselves more closely to solutions and products so when people tell me about a “page not found” when they visit someplace under ~/realtime, a shiver runs up my back and gives me a headache. For anyone who’s worked on the web side of the business, change is not always good.
Anyway, I digress... In some cases, I do take “real-time” for granted. When I press the brake of my car, I expect my car to stop in real-time—even if I really get thrown into a tailspin because of all the rain around here. I bought an AWD car a few years ago and I’m apparently naïve because I don’t know of a button I need to push to have real-time AWD. Real-time computing, now that’s a different story. I bet many technologists might not take “real-time” for granted. Do you? Wikipedia notes that early references to real-time computing were in reference to high performance. When the Real Time Division first started talking about “real-time”, it was related to event processing—complex event processing—the ability to monitor, analyze and act on business events as they occur. Behind most transactions is a database and as most of us know, updating a field/row of the supported database isn’t always real-time. It may only take a second but we all know what a second can feel like when we’re trying to win the Gold, selling or buying stock at the best price, or reacting to the brake lights blasting in front of us. Apama’s technology doesn’t wait for the database to update, it “automagically” processes the event WHEN IT HAPPENS—learn more about Apama.
Last week we announced the launch of the Progress® Responsive Process Management (RPM) suite. This solution suite presents “real-time visibility” as a core feature/benefit of the Progress RPM suite. When I first started reading the content for the launch, I associated Real-time Visibility to our Apama technology but it’s actually associated with multiple Progress technologies—Apama (for visibility into events), Actional (end-to-end visibility into transactions) and Savvion (visibility into processes). It made sense, at least to me, because it’s about “seeing” how transactions are operating as they occur—from design time through runtime. In this case, I do not have to take real-time for granted, and it’s not automagic, because I’m looking at a dashboard that’s showing me exactly how an event is being processed. With Real-time Visibility, I can see (visualize) how the transaction is flowing and if there is a problem I can immediately respond and work to find a resolution.
To be honest, nothing I do is really time or mission-critical. And while I take for granted that my CMS is publishing our newest press release to our home page the minute it gets published, our marcom VP is not. While he’s tapping his foot behind me, I’m wishing I could bring up my “real-time visibility” console and see what’s causing the delay—is it the CMS, the network, what? In industries like capital markets, energy, insurance, and telecommunications, real-time visibility is the difference between increased revenue vs lost revenue, and happy customers vs miserable customers. With Real-time Visibility, you don’t have to take anything for granted.
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