How Big Data will impact your life…

Why is Big Data impor­tant? What is it?

A good way to think about Big Data is through an exam­ple of a “smart device”, the ther­mo­stat. With the stan­dard ana­log ther­mo­stat, you turn the dial to increase or decrease tem­per­a­ture and there is a sen­sor which turns on or off the heat­ing and cool­ing sys­tem. There’s min­i­mal data needed and none collected.

With a dig­i­tal ther­mo­stat, like the Nest Ther­mo­stat , the device col­lects a huge amount of data and uses it to opti­mize the termper­a­ture and opti­mize the heating/​cooling for com­fort and energy effi­ciency. Data col­lected includes:

  • Exter­nal weather con­di­tions (through a wire­less interface)
  • When the dial is turned up or down and by how much
  • Time of day, day of the week, and season
  • Cur­rent tem­per­a­ture and any changes in the room

In a sense, this small devices col­lects, ana­lyzes, and acts upon a much larger amount of data than the ana­log or even a sim­ple dig­i­tal ther­mo­stat. Mul­ti­ply this one exam­ple by mul­ti­ple “smart devices” and you have Big Data. The com­plex­ity comes from how to man­age, ana­lyze, sum­ma­rize and use the vol­umes of data that are grow­ing exponetially.

This group of arti­cles from The Econ­o­mist and McK­in­sey pro­vide a good back­ground on the busi­ness impli­ca­tions of hav­ing so much data and being able to ana­lyze and apply it:

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