There is a mind-boggling amount of data floating around our society. This is called Big Data and it refers to data that is too large, complex and dynamic for any conventional data tools to capture, store, manage and analyse. However the right use of Big Data allows analysts to spot trends and gives niche insights that help create value and innovation much faster than conventional methods.
The graphics below, courtesy of WIPRO, the global information technology, consulting and outsourcing company, illustrates some facts about this. Click on the image to enlarge.
Today with modern use of computing, companies capture trillions of bytes of information about their customers, suppliers, and operations, and millions of networked sensors are being embedded in the physical world in devices such as mobile phones and automobiles, sensing, creating, and communicating data.
Multimedia and individuals with smartphones and on blogs and social network sites will continue to fuel exponential growth. Big data, large pools of data that can be captured, communicated, aggregated, stored, and analysed, is now part of every sector and function of the global economy. Like other essential factors of production such as hard assets and human capital, it is increasingly the case that much of modern economic activity, innovation, and growth simply could no take place without data.
The main question is what this phenomenon means. Is the proliferation of data simply evidence of an increasingly intrusive world, or can big data play a useful economic role? In June 2011, McKinsey published a report named Big data – The next frontier for innovation, competition and productivity in which they argue that there are many ways that big data can be used to create value across sectors of the global economy. Click on the link above to access and read the report.
One other important question to solve is how to store accumulating volumes of big data. Physicists at CERN have been pondering how to store and share their ever more massive data for decades, stimulating globalization of the internet along the way, whilst ‘solving’ their big data problem. In the video below, Tim Smith plots CERN’s involvement with big data from fifty years ago to today.