FEATURE:  Big data, analytics and the cloud converge to give rise to advanced solutions such as machine learning for new enterprise insights.

The explosion of data from social media, video, audio, wearables and the Internet of Things (IoT), has innovators focused on new ways to make data more meaningful and valuable.

Machine learning is helping, with software engineers continually creating and improving algorithms that automatically analyze data to identify patterns and predict outcomes.

Machine learning involves studying computer algorithms that provide computer programs with the ability to learn, discover, predict and improve automatically using large amounts of data without explicit programming, said Dave Schubmehl, research director for Cognitive Systems and Content Analytics at IDC.

“Machine learning starts with data—the more you have, the better your results are likely to be,” said David Chappell, in a white paper on Microsoft’s Azure Machine Learning solution. “Because we live in the big data era, machine learning has become