Do you remember that “Like” on Facebook from four years ago, or the “Share” on LinkedIn last July 7th, or the Google search you did back in 2009? What about every magazine subscription, credit card application, doctor’s office visit, prescription filled, or every item you have ever purchased at Walmart? You don’t recall all of them; well brace yourself because BIG DATA DOES and big companies are paying BIG BUCKS to find out all that info and MUCH, MUCH more about you.
Today’s Telecom Tuesday blog is part 1 of a 2 part post, so be sure to check back next Tuesday for the second part…
What is Big Data?
Let us first answer the question of what big data (BD) is? BD is the collection, analysis and comparison of many sets of data from multiple seemingly unrelated sources that can lead to conclusions (or predictions) of events or actions that are imminent. Companies, Governments, Universities, Charities and just about every other type of entity you can think of, are using BD and predictions are that its use is bound for a nearly vertical trajectory moving forward.
How is Big Data Used?
Business’s current use of BD is primarily for targeted advertising. One example is outlined in the now famous Target early pregnancy test study. Or take a hypothetical tire sales company who wants to be top of mind with potential customers just before they have to buy new tires. Big Data tells them that Jane Doe last bought tires 3 years ago (Source: Google search history) and that she has bought enough gasoline to have already driven 60,000 miles (Source: Visa transaction history). Since you know that her car averages 17 MPG in town (Source: DMV records showing she owns a 2005 Volvo) and she has not traveled recently (Sources: Google, AAA and VISA), you can be certain she is nearly to the point of buying new tires so Jane becomes an advertising target. This is how analyzed data sets compiled from multiple unrelated sources lead to a logical conclusion predicting a future event.
The Government & Big Data
Governmental BD usage opportunities are unlimited: Obama used BD extensively in his reelection campaign in 2012. Infectious diseases are tracked and resources allocated to where the spread is most likely, weather forecasting has become much more accurate allowing FEMA to mobilize relief efforts BEFORE storms hit, policing the citizenry and tracking down fugitives are additional uses of BD. Charities and Universities can predict likely donors and at what time of year and likely donation amounts, information that is crucial to their budgeting needs.
Now that the rough edges of this emerging-science have been smoothed, the doors are about to be blown off the building based on the ever-increasing volume of data being generated, as detailed in the infographic below.
Next week we will look at some of the challenges of managing all of this data.
[author_bio username=”Barry” name=”yes”]