Energy supplier British Gas is buying into smart data big time with a three-year subscription to use data-crunching software Hadoop.
The $750,000 deal will see it work with Sheffield and Silicon Valley-based tech firm WANDisco with a version of the software which processes data much more quickly.
Using Hadoop will help British Gas on its rollout of smart meters in homes and the admin needs of Hive, which lets people adjust their heating remotely.
Hadoop, named after the elephant cuddly toy of the son of one of its inventors, is an open source project founded by tech experts at internet companies such Yahoo.
With Hadoop, it is possible to get 100 smaller computers working on a problem at the same time, instead of using a single big and expensive computer, explained the supplier.
British Gas said: “Some of the tasks that might previously have taken hours to complete can take minutes with this technology. So we’re able to process customer information to respond more quickly to queries or customer requests.”
Security isn’t a problem, claimed the supplier, as customer data is kept “securely in our data centres behind several layers of firewalls and security zones”.