Big Data: Interview with Patrice Caine about the acquisition of Guavus, a pioneer in real-time big data analytics

Together  we are going to make the Group a global leader in digital transformation for the benefits of our customers. Guavus will provide Thales with a unique capability to process massive datasets in real time.

This morning Thales announced the acquisition of the American company Guavus, a pioneer in real-time big data analytics. Why did Thales buy this business?
Patrice Caine: Big data is one of four key technologies in the digital transformation that our customers are going through, alongside connectivity, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. All four play a truly central role in our business today.
This acquisition strengthens Thales's position in big data, in other words in the management, storage, processing, analysis and visualisation of very large datasets.
As a pioneer in real-time big data analytics, Guavus will add to our expertise in this area. It has a widely recognised industrial-scale operational intelligence platform capable of analysing streaming data  on a rolling basis and guaranteeing the high levels of service availability that our markets demand. It is a robust and innovative technology that Thales intends to build upon to develop new solutions for its customers in the aerospace, space, transportation, defence and security markets.
Guavus is a unique venture and its technology is now used by 20 major operators around the world, including the five leading US mobile providers (AT&T, Rogers, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon), four of the five US companies that provide the backbone of the global Internet, and seven of the eight largest cable network operators.
Guavus already handles more than 5 petabytes (5,000 terabytes) of data for its customers on a daily basis. That's the equivalent of analysing 3 million feature films every day. That is 500 times the data that is contained in the entire US Library of Congress! So this acquisition will provide Thales with a unique capability to process enormous volumes of data in real time.

How does the operation fit into the broader strategy of the Thales Group? 
PC: Thales is consolidating its leadership in digital transformation through a strategy of targeted, complementary acquisitions. The Guavus operation is the latest in a string of acquisitions — LiveTV and RUAG's optro-electronics business line in connectivity, Aviovision in mobility, and in cybersecurity: Vormetric and Alcatel cybersecurity businesses.
Thales appealed to the founders of Guavus, because of the technological potential and challenges offered by a group like ours. For Thales, this operation is a new milestone that will help us to get ahead of competition and become the leading player in our markets.
Guavus has developed a technology with amazing potential. Acquiring this business is a great opportunity for us to accelerate our digital strategy. Its big data expertise is applicable to all our markets: aerospace, space, rail signalling, defence and security.  Processing and predictive analysis of massive datasets are capabilities that are becoming more and more critical in real-time decision-making.

Can you give some examples?
PC: The ability to manage big data on an industrial scale, particularly in real time will give a tremendous boost to the digital transformation of governments, businesses and cities.  Airlines, satellite operators, air traffic control organisations, urban and mainline rail operators, the armed forces, security services, responsible for protecting urban infrastructure and energy supplies all rely on Thales technology to help them make the right decisions in real time.
As networks of connected sensors expand, the volume of data they generate is growing exponentially. With the Internet of Things, the amount of data generated worldwide will reportedly double every two hours.
Acquiring Guavus will expand opportunities for Thales in a whole range of applications, including predictive maintenance, cybersecurity, critical infrastructure protection and optimisation of telecom systems and networks.
Beyond that, big data is of fundamental importance in many areas of artificial intelligence, which relies on the ability to process massive amounts of data.

This operation  extends the Thales Group’s footprint in the United States and India…
PC: Thales is continuing to go global, capturing advanced technologies and expertise wherever they may be. Guavus has strong roots in both the United States and India. Both are strategic countries for Thales, and both are global centers of digital innovation. In addition, Guavus is also present in Canada, in Montreal, close to IVADO, Institute for Data Valorization, a core component of the Artificial Intelligence ecosystem, with over 1000 researchers, in HEC Montreal, Polytechnique Montreal and the University of Montreal. It is this wealth of diversity in our teams from various backgrounds that underpins the Group’s unique innovation capacity. We intend to continue along these lines and make Thales a global leader in digital transformation for the benefit of our customers.