Demystifying Big Data

by Eric Melin on November 9, 2012

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What does big data really mean and how do I make sense of big data for business?

Spiral16 Product Architect Aaron Weber gave the keynote presentation Demystifying Big Data at the DST Systems 2012 Transfer Agency Executives Forum in Dallas, TX this past Wednesday, and he answered that question for a number of industries and applications, giving a powerful introduction to a concept that has gained a lot of traction this year in the business world. (Not to mention politics. Nate Silver, anyone?)

A staggering statistic: In 2008, the world was generating as much stored data from the dawn of civilization to 2003 every two days. From here on out, that rate is predicted to double every two years. That’s one of those Al Gore-has-to-get-on-a-scissor-lift-to-illustrate-how-off-the-chart-that-is statistics. So what exactly is all this unorganized digital data, why is it available, and what can you do with it?

For the past five years we’ve been collecting and analyzing web and social media data from across the Internet for clients and sometimes its easy to get caught in the weeds. The Demystifying Big Data keynote backs all the way out and starts at the beginning to give you a solid foundation on the concept of big data.

Check out Aaron’s presentation below, which comes with a very cool audio narration track. This presentation is a really good introduction the the world of big data, and hopefully it will inspire you to think about what you can learn from really large data sets for your company.

Here’s some highlights:

  • Non-structured data left in its original state is infinitely reusable. Instead of dozens or hundreds of silos of information, you can reduce data duplication for a unified pool of information that can be used for vastly different ends.
  • Big data allows companies to identify trends, target customers more efficiently, run predictive analysis, and make better use of what you already know. Just ask Google, Facebook, Netflix, and Amazon for starters.
  • No one industry has the market cornered on big data. Financial services, healthcare, retail, politics, and marketing are all using aggregating and analyzing big data to make business decisions.

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