Big data is one of the hottest topics in technology today, however it also is one of the most difficult to make sense of since the topic is vast. At the recent AT&T Developer Summit in Las Vegas, NV, the focus was on making sense of data in a world where virtually anything can pipe data to devices.
Fortunately big data doesn’t have to be horribly complex. As discussed by the panel, big data can be broken down into three key parts: volume, velocity and variety. The biggest goal is to find some value from all three. Unfortunately while there isn’t a shortage of data, companies are struggling to make sense of the information they have – one of the biggest challenges being knowing what information can be kept and what should be disposed of.
Big Data – A Simple Overview
For those unfamiliar with the term, Big Data simply is defined as a collection of information which is so large it cannot be processed by hand. Big data can apply to virtually any set of information imaginable – however the most common applications to date have been in advertising agencies (such as Google), retail stores (to predict inventory needs) and scientific fields (for research on different subjects).
Today however, with the advent of more powerful computers, companies and consumers are now saving troves of information – causing the demand for intelligent data processing solutions to surge in recent times.
Sources of Data
In 2014 and the years to follow, expect to see wearable devices become one of the biggest drivers of big data. Namely real time data will be the biggest niche in this area. Additionally customer data and transaction information also are major segments in the space.
In this case, it is vital for businesses to keep the 80/20 rule in mind. This means that 80% of effort should be focused on the data you have while 20% of effort is devoted to testing new and unknown information.
No Such Thing As An App
One of the best quotes from the presentation is that, “there is no such thing as an app.” Instead, developers today are providing a service based on information. The key to success is that developers and other professionals focus on asking the right questions and getting the right answers.
While making sense of information might seem near impossible, by clustering topics and focusing on similar information fields, you can easily make sense of big data.
Only Going to Get Bigger
Even if you don’t use data today, big data will eventually encompass all aspects of your life – literally. Thanks to Internet connections becoming mandatory for virtually all appliances both big and small, vendors will now need to process serious information (credit approvals, safety information, performance monitoring, etc.), and the mundane (gaming, recreation, etc.).
Although the poll below taken from the audience attendees at the big data session at the AT&T developer summit is not a scientifically sound sample of information, there is a key point to keep in mind. The most notable point is how 59 percent of participants stated that API’s are going to be a key focus on their development efforts. This means that rather than coding solutions from scratch and reinventing the wheel, APIs are allowing developers to plug in their code to established solutions as needed to build on top of existing systems.
In the AT&T hackathon for example, companies such as AT&T, Pebble, Qualcomm, and many other vendors provided attendees with innovative platforms which allowed them to code innovative solutions in only 24 hours.