05 June 2017

The tech terms ‘big data’ and the ‘internet of things’ (IoT) have a simplistic ring to them. But fast moving and overlapping developments in both fields are revolutionising the way people live and how they interact with businesses and service providers. Big data and the IoT together possess such huge disruptive potential that businesses stand to live or die according to how they adapt to this fast evolving digital environment.

However, the sustained success of digital strategies will not be simply about acting on the new opportunities created by the technology: success will hinge on identifying, managing and mitigating risk in new forms.

Big data technologies are not new and many early adopter businesses already benefit from their ability to gather, process and analyse large volumes of structured and unstructured data.

There are three main sources of big data: streaming from connected devices; unstructured social media content and publicly available data from government or academic websites. The primary value from big data is gained from the processing and analysis of it and the insights, products, and services that this analysis helps create.

Increasingly, organisations in different sectors use big data technology to efficiently mine data from within and outside the enterprise and extract it to gain valuable business insights. Healthcare and manufacturing businesses also stand to gain from big data technology.

Big data is getting bigger all the time, largely due to the huge expansion of information produced by the proliferation of internet based transactions, social media, smart phones and other personal devices.

By definition, it is hard to put a number on big data volumes, but for perspective it is widely believed that 90% of all information available today was generated in just the last two years. And apart from the sheer volume of data, the diversity and speed at which data is being generated is increasing dramatically, largely because of the number of connected devices in use.