Big Data = Big Brother??

Big Data can make your life simpler, profit for businesses and at a lower cost than traditional business intelligence solutions.  Sound too good to be true??!  Read on…

What’s the problem with Little Data?
When you call a bank, they essentially validate who you are, against the information you gave on an application form.  The way they make sure that is you, is by validating that against a credit agency (like Experian or Call Credit) to make sure you are who you say you are, and that you can afford what you are buying.

Now as you well know, a lot can change between the day you opened a current account and today. Not least your mobile number, email address and importantly things like your lifestyle and buying habits.  What you buy and wanted 10 years ago, are very different to today I imagine!

What is Big Data?
Many modern businesses are made up of products that have been bolted on over the years.  These systems rarely talk to each other, and if they do, it’s even less likely the business is linking the data to be valuable for them, and valuable for you.

Big Data describes the patterns that emerge from analyzing trends across systems inside and outside the company.

Companies like ClouderaDatameer specialize in very quickly doing what business management have dreamed about for at least a decade, without the expense of a data warehouse, and in real time.  They have the tools to connect to all of your data sources, then provide very visual, actionable analysis.

Where does Big Data come from?
As you go about your life, you leave behind data, like a trail of crumbs.  Every time you correspond with a company, government department or make a purchase – all of that data is logged.  What’s more that has been standard procedure for many years.

On it’s own in a dark corner data about what you bought for lunch isn’t very valuable.  When that data is linked to data in other dark corners it becomes tremendously valuable.

What can you do with Big Data?

  • Predict when you might be coming into financial trouble (because your MOT and car insurance is due) – and offer you a temporary credit limit increase (That’s helpful banking!!)
  • Send you offers or deals from Burger King if you eat and McDonalds a lot – saving you money, and making money for the bank by selling that data.  (That data might also be of interest to a health insurance company!!)
  • Check your driving record against the DVLA, instead of relying on you to inform them of speeding offenses etc.
  • Offer an appointment with your bank branch manager when you are looking for a new house and asking friends for advice on social networks.

I’m sure you get the idea, and there are plenty more too.  The Big Data revolution has the potential to make your life a whole lot simpler, whilst giving struggling companies another way to make money if sales are down.

What about my privacy?
Always the big worry.  The key will be to make all of these services opt in.  Under the Data Protection Act and Freedom of Information Act, no entity can store information without your express permission.

As I find myself saying often lately… your data is the cost of free

Will you take advantage of Big Data?
Companies are heading this way, very slowly.  Centralized contact data bases, improved cross business data sharing, and developments like data.gov show even the UK Government endorses a Big Data future.  Big Data doesn’t have to mean big brother, and doesn’t have to be feared.  For most of us it will mean less painful interaction with companies that have the data they need to actually be helpful.  Some further reading on how Big Data is different from Business Analytics

What do you think of Big Data?

  1. Will it be profitable for business?
  2. Will it struggle against privacy laws?
  3. Do you trust it?