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Big Data and You.

7/11/2013 by


Big Data and You.

Big Data is huge – literally.

It’s everywhere and in everything! What we do, when we do it, how we do it, who we do it with, why we do it, what food we eat while we do it, what time of the day we do it. All of our data is slowly being crunched together, condensed and analysed in such a way that it now reflects on the bottom line.

What is Big Data?

I am no tech wizz, but after a chat with one of our consultants who specialises in all things Big Data, I think I have a rough understanding. Big Data is a buzz word for the process of analysing large amounts of complex confusing data to be evaluated and harnessed to provide an effective end result. It’s very new, very exciting, and a little bit scary.

The Three V’s

Volume. Velocity. Variety.

Volume. Everything you do, to an extent, is documented somewhere in the world. All this data has sat there for years, untouched and stagnant. However Big Data is allowing all this data to be collected. In the past, excessive data volume was a storage issue; Big Data is also helping us to determine relevance within large data volumes. So is this bulk data useful; if so, how?

Velocity. Time is of the essence, and spending 4 years manipulating current data kind of defeats the object. Huge organizations struggle with the sheer speed that the data comes in, and having the capacity to react quickly and efficiently enough is crucial.

Variety. The spice of life. Data comes in all shapes and sizes from different platforms, different languages and different formats. How do you make a voice recording add up with your credit card details from 1992? Managing and merging different types of data and then making them behave is tricky business.

What’s it got to do with you?

Organizations all over the globe are having a frenzy over the amount of sheer data at their disposal. This new technology is causing an evolution in the way companies work. From Nordstrom, the high end retailer using analytics vendor Euclidd to cull info from customers’ smartphones everytime they enter a store’s Wi-Fi service, to companies such as Tesco using face analytics to scan your face at the petrol garage and taper ads to your generic buying habits. You may have been online shopping recently and seen an ad next to the checkout button selling you a jumper similar to the one you bought this time last year. That’s Big Data in action. Moreover everything you do online is stored! A twitter account, LinkedIn account, a blog you wrote when you was 19 and that awful picture your friend tagged you on Facebook. Your online footprint emerges whether that is intentional or not!

Ethical Chaos

Many CIO’s and data scientists around the globe are plagued with the question of how to really gain from this data in a cost efficient way while still respecting the average consumers’ rights. As the data heap mounts, and new ways of collating this information emerge it is inevitable that many will manipulate the data for the wrong reasons, thus creating a new market: preventing and protecting consumers from data abuse is crucial to the continued evolution of Big Data analytics.

So, where will Big Data take us, and do we want to go there?

Written by Maya Gardiner, Internal Communications Manager & Marketing Assistant

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