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The World-Changing Impact of Big Data

Posted by Henry Cheang | November 7, 2014 7:00 AM

What is Big Data?

IBM defines “big data” as the culmination of data that is generated all around us from multiple sources. This data is continuously generated from everything in our surroundings. Because of the sheer volume of data, the only way to turn it all into useful information is through the deployment of emerging technologies that require vast amounts of processing power and integration software. Once enough data has been collected (even from what some would think to be unrelated events), trends emerge which offer big data analysts insights with great amounts of detail.

Big Data Trends

Big data is dynamically changing the way in which many businesses operate because it provides companies with detailed, deep insights on the marketplace(s) in which they operate.  Companies get incredible, hitherto-unavailable decision-making capabilities that allow them to better manage their assets and position themselves more effectively.

According to CSC, the growth of data is tremendous. And of course, with growth comes both huge challenges to overcome as well as opportunities to profit handsomely.

CSC forecasts that:

  • In 2020, the production of data will be at least 44 times greater than it was in 2009
  • In 2020, there will be an estimated 35 zettabytes (zb) of total data (one zettabyte is equal to 1.0 × 10^21 bytes, or, more concretely, the amount of data that 250 billion DVDs would hold).
    • Of the 35 zb, 10.5zb will be created by enterprises
    • 28zb will be managed by enterprises

There are also changes in the types of data being created. The most key shift is the dramatic increase in unstructured data. To be clear: Unstructured data includes images and social media and takes non-relational databases to transform the data into information. The evolution of big data is emerging in fields all around the world and can reveal and endless amount of insights.

Projects Using Big Data Today

Big data means big initiatives.

Big data means big initiativesAfter taking a look at 5 Big Data projects that could change your life, it is clear that big data is enabling world-changing ventures. Some projects are currently in the works while others have been successfully completed (but which are undergoing further refinement).

For us, several big data projects really stand out. One of them is Georgetown University’s Global Insight Initiative. Essentially through an automated process developed in collaboration with Kapow Software, the Global Insight Initiative gathers and integrates data from 20,000+ web sources from 162 countries in order to pull out underlying patterns that’s in the data. Using this information, the goal of the project is to more optimally address current real-world issues such as resource allocation (of crucial things like water, power, and healthcare) as well as the geographical positioning of distribution centers.

Another worthwhile program is the human Genome Project. This was a project that began in the early 90s and took approximately 10 years to complete. Scientists set out to map the human genome, and only finally managed to complete this task by 2003. At the time, the cost was phenomenally high – all told, it took $1,000,000 to do. Due to advancements in technology, the cost of mapping one’s own genome has decreased by three orders of magnitue. One can now pay between $1,000 and $5,000. As late as 2007, it would still have had a million-dollar price tag. Regardless of cost, this big data mapping project has critical implications for humans as a whole since it holds the key to unlocking cures for some of the worst diseases known to man (including the various cancers).

The third and final big data project that’s salient to us is the LA ExpressPark parking system. Essentially, if you’ve ever tried to park in downtown Montreal, this system will hold meaning for you! Like Montreal, Los Angeles has seen significant changes over the years but the infrastructure within the city was not developed to account for it.

As a result, there is a large amount of traffic partly due to street parking issues. As an attempt at rectifying this issue, the city of LA had Xerox develop LA ExpressPark parking system. Through the use of sensors embedded in parking spots, the company continuously analyzed parking space openings and then priced spots according to demand. Prices saw mostly decreases instead of increases but nonetheless resulted in higher overall profits due to accessibility.

Essentially, because drivers were made aware of available parking through an automated system that directed them to open spots, occupancy of spots rose even as the time spent looking for parking dropped. The system really helped Los Angeles reduce congestion and pollution.

Underlying fundamentals

Big data certainly offers many marvels. However, without proper software to monitor and automate processes big data would not be where it is today. Like in any business there are always several ways to do things. One can take the traditional road. Or one can embrace the future, adopt new technology, and propel their business forward!

If you are looking to cut inventory costs, eliminate bill shock, drive revenues and of course work smarter through the power of automation then the solution is Cimpl! Cimpl software applies big data principles to allow you greater efficiency in managing your IT and Telecom assets in your workplace. It also helps you develop a culture of IT cost transparency which gets everyone in your business thinking about just how much they are spending. If this sounds like something that would make your life easier then you should contact us at Cimpl! As Canada’s leader in IT and telecom expense management we have been helping give companies greater visibility over all their IT and telecom assets for more than a decade now.

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Topics: Big Data, Cost Transparency, Automation, Software, Trends

Written by Henry Cheang

Henry has a lifelong passion for science and technology. This enthusiasm is put to good use in a cutting-edge software company like Cimpl. As product marketer, Henry researches market and user needs to develop user and buyer personas, contributes to product design, and helps coordinate product messaging. Henry also writes nearly the entirety of all documentation for Cimpl’s many successful platforms. In his spare time, Henry devotes much energy to family, friends, and martial arts. Henry recently completed his Master’s in Business and Administration from Concordia University, where he specialized in the study of marketing, organizational behavior, and corporate governance. He has authored academic papers on the latter two subjects; these papers form part of his bibliography of over 20 professional research publications.

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