18 March

Big Data: why the hype?

Big Data: Why the hype & how is it used for profit?
‘Big data’ means many things to different people. The term has been used to convey concepts such as social media analytics, real-time data, or simply ‘huge amounts of information’. But organizations are focused on something more important than the buzzword’s etymology: companies are exploring new ways to gather, process, and analyze it to increase profits. In other words, Big Data has left the ‘tech realm’ to become a business priority.
But Big Data itself isn’t new for every industry – some organizations have already been handling it for years. Oil exploration companies, for example, see the analysis of terabytes of geological information as routine.
What’s new to today’s Big Data activities is that, with the digitization of everything, new types of large and real-time data across a broad range of industries are available 24/7, pretty much from anywhere in the world. This is a powerful thing when combined with advanced analytical technologies and techniques, because this combo enables organizations to extract insights previously unavailable at this level of sophistication, scope, speed, and accuracy.
As a result, the power phrase “data is today’s gold” has become popular to refer to Big Data’s huge potential value for businesses. But how exactly is it used for profit?
By analyzing lots of data, businesses can discover patterns that help inform smarter decisions to go about increasing efficiency and innovating products. Additionally, this information helps provide better experiences for customers and employees (through user behavior analytics), and shed light on ways to reduce operational costs and risks (through predictive maintenance).
But not just any data can lead businesses to reap these rewards – data must be uncovered, clean and structured. And even so, someone must speak Big Data’s language in order to derive useful meaning out of all the information it provides – it isn’t for nothing that ‘data scientist’ is considered the sexiest job of the 21st Century.
The role of a data scientist can cover many areas across several industries and organizations. But all of them are built on three foundational capabilities: understanding that all data has meaning and being able to interpret it to find what is relevant for businesses; understanding the business problem that needs solving and how data can point to the solutions; and understanding the engineering side of things to enable the infrastructure required to come up with such solutions.
So Big Data alone isn’t a success pill for businesses – it is a tool, just like other technologies. Additionally, the fact that Big Data accumulates at an incredibly fast speed and rate is overwhelming, because no human can process it quickly enough to satisfy current business requirements – so machines are taking over, leaving many confused about what to do with the Big Data hype. This is where the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) comes into play.
The IIoT is composed of several devices connected through communications software and special sensory equipment that are faster than any humans or other software. IIoT technology essentially monitors devices in 24 hour shifts, communicating with equipment to gather information about their production cycles.
This information collected by IIoT technology is then used by executives and analysts to decipher what behaviors could potentially cause downtime – such as abnormal machine temperatures or faulty parts-, or which patterns could be changed to improve production rates, among other things.
If success is a moving target, rather than a destination, Big Data is the map to navigate its many routes, while IIoT is the carriage businesses need to board in order to survive their journeys.
Article written for IIoT USA, the 4th annual event highlighting the digital transformations taking place across America’s Oil & Gas, Energy, Manufacturing and Transportation industries; taking place this June in Chicago. Request a brochure here or catch our early bird offer to save $300 on registration before April 18th 2019.

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