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Startups look to harness the big data economy

22/08/2014 by


Big data provides a way for startups and entrepreneurs in industries such as health care and finance to monetize an ever-growing stream of information.

As companies gather massive amounts of data in multiple industries, they need a way to manage all of this information, whether it’s genomic data used in cancer research or product data in a manufacturing plant.

This overload of digital information holds potential for new business models and a gold rush in a “data-driven economy,” according to Dell founder and CEO Michael Dell.

“There is still a lot of uncertainty about the data economy, but this much is clear: The opportunity for data-driven organizations is golden,” Dell wrote in an April LinkedIn blog post.

Monetizing data streams

Startups have plenty of opportunities to use big data to make money, and small businesses are trying to keep pace with larger enterprises in this space. Startups leveraging big data include PlaceIQ, which offers a data-driven mobile advertising platform to identify the number of devices reached during a campaign.

The market for big data will expand by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27 percent to $32.4 billion through 2017, according to a report by research firm IDC. This could amount to about six times the growth rate of the information and communication technology market, the report stated.

“The big data technology and services market represents a fast-growing multibillion-dollar worldwide opportunity,” Dan Vesset, vice president for IDC’s business analytics and big data research, said in the report. “The big data market is expanding rapidly as large IT companies and startups vie for customers and market share.”

Technologies such as Apache’s Hadoop enable management of big data. The Hadoop framework allows large data sets to be distributed across clusters of computers.

The big data opportunity

Although big data presents a huge opportunity for companies to analyze data about customers, whether they might be patients or investors, this technology has yet to be used extensively.

“How much of [the] data that companies or organizations store is actually being used to create better outcomes or better decisions or better results or better anything — particularly in real time?” said Dell during a presentation ahead of the South By Southwest conference in March. “The dirty secret is, almost none of it. Well, that’s a huge opportunity, and an area that’s hugely interesting to our customers.”

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