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Big data equals big opportunities

Every two years the volume of data generated across the world more than doubles. To put it another way, 90 percent of the data ever recorded was laid down in the last two years. As more and more devices and everyday objects are fitted with their own sensors and communications, ever more detailed information is made available for analysis. And as the power of analytic tools increases, costs are reducing. The resultant ability to identify patterns provides quicker, more accurate answers to all manner of questions and, indeed, makes it possible to answer questions that have never even been asked before.

Several enabling technologies underlie the growth of “big data” analytics. Sensor, processing and communications technologies make it possible to construct smart objects and enable them to capture enormous quantities of data. Then there is the increasing speed and power of hardware: both processors and memory continue to follow Moore’s law – doubling in power (or halving in relative price) every 18 months to two years. Techniques such as in-memory processing are offering even greater advances in processing power for massive databases. Software such as the open-source Hadoop makes it possible to execute large scale processing of data sets on clusters of commodity computers, and this, in turn, reduces or eliminates one of the barriers to entry into advanced analytics and allows small and medium enterprises to join the game.

Mark Beyer of the technology research firm Gartner, quoted in the Formtek blog, sees three principal commercial opportunities for what he describes as “Extreme Information Management”. The analysis of social data will reveal network relationships and sentiments that can be used to improve marketing processes. Monitoring operations and collecting better data and metrics will be used to enhance logistics and supply planning. Finally, high-resolution data seta will be used in the search for competitive advantage, by fine-tuning price and performance.

The applications for data analytics are almost endless. Current examples include the analysis by streaming video service providers of real-time traffic patterns across different localities and device types, which enables them to drive improved reliability and determine where extra capacity will be needed. Other web-based service providers analyze the information that they hold on individual users to identify individual optimum price points.

Despite the volume of data available, and the increasing availability of powerful processing tools, it is widely observed that there is currently a substantial gap between data volume and data value; but there is general agreement that this gap will be closed within the next decade. Few sources are confident to estimate the consequent scale savings or revenue generation, but big data is widely described as a “trillion-dollar opportunity”.

The exploitation of big data is not without its challenges, however. The technical issues of storage capacity and processing power are perhaps the easiest to overcome. A set of more difficult problems concerns the way in which people interact with the data. A growing cohort of data scientists provides a partial response, but such experts are in short supply and it is difficult to grow this resource quickly enough. Another approach is the development of disciplines such as visual analytics which put the ability to manipulate data and extract meaning in the hands of the wider knowledge management workforce.

For more information about this topic visit: https://www.inmarsat.com/blog/big-data-equals-big-opportunities

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Media contact: Shoma Ferrari, shoma@globalsatellite.us, socialmedia@globalsatellite.us

For more information about this topic visit: https://www.inmarsat.com/blog/big-data-equals-big-opportunities

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