Big data and analytics (BDA) is a crucial resource for public and private enterprises. The evolution of cloud software has enabled organisations to track and analyse large volumes of business data in real-time and make the necessary adjustments to their business processes. However, as data proliferates, what should businesses be most aware of?
While the BDA market looks set to continue to grow and play an increasingly integral part of industry and development, in what ways do we expect that big data will shift business and global trends?
1. Digital transformation
Digital transformation means the development of the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and big data, along with other advances.
The number of IoT connected devices is expected to reach 75 billion in 2025 (from 26.7 billion in 2019), providing the big data that we expect will consume many businesses.
Machine learning and AI tools will attempt to make sense of the data, uncovering hidden relationships and motivations for a consumer market. The machines will then attempt to project these insights for human understanding.
However, we have not yet created systems that can optimise the use of all the collected data. In the US alone, businesses are losing up to US$3.1 trillion a year to poor data quality.
The takeaway? The utility of big data has a way to go. If you are a smaller business, collecting and sifting through all that data might not be in the best interests of your ROI at this time. By pairing back your data collection and analysis to a few key areas you might be saving your company a great deal of time, money and resources.
2. Real-time analytics
Many sports have been improved by the addition of live statistics that are accurate and informative. Motorsports has more accurate live feeds that push enthusiasts to a new level of excitement. Other less intense sports, such as cricket and soccer have found ways to incorporate stats to entertain their fans while the action is inevitably suspended.
However, sports has always made use of data to make big decisions, inform strategy and even involve fans. Real-time analytics is about more than just entertainment.
Monitoring major weather events, earthquakes and tsunamis and other natural phenomenon is helping save lives. Real-time reporting of banking activities and financial movements is working to reduce money laundering and other financial crimes on an international scale.
3. The Rise of DaaS
Data-as-a-service is fast becoming a major service. From music and image files to white papers, the selling of data per megabyte, per specific file format, or by volume has become a way for enterprises with a large amount of data to make money from what they own.
Customers can access data stored on a cloud using any device and from anywhere in the world. It is cost-effective because your business can outsource your data to other companies who will build the presentation interface at a minimal cost.
By keeping data in a secure, single location, it is easy to update any content quickly. Services such as NetFlix and YouTube have been using this highly profitable model for many years, and more players, like Apple, are set to enter the market in 2020.
4. New areas of growth
Analytics in the form of business intelligence solutions has been helping businesses for some time and the new generation of this software should allow users to scale new heights.
The current trend of integrating critical aspects of business operations, such as supply chain management, customer support, as well as advertising and social media management, is likely to continue with the support of data capability growth.
Using your data from landing page behaviour patterns, customer transactions, geographical origins, video feeds from multiple store branches, customer survey results and cart behaviour, new analytic tools will offer real-time insights that are not possible at present.
Netflix has invested much into big data analytics and it seems to be working. Offering viewing suggestions and promoting options related to user habits keeps subscribers interested in viewing new movies, series and documentaries.
The new generation of analytic tools should help businesses scale new revenues levels. It is about giving consumers more of what they want without them having to make a conscious decision, because your data has provided all the answers based on their usage.
7. Medical research
Medical researchers hope that by consolidating medical records from around the world, finding medical cures can be advanced. However, the challenge is the use of private and sensitive data by public institutions, and even foreign powers. Consolidating all medical data would also require a huge amount of computing power. Data containing clinical records amount to about 170 exabytes for 2019, with an annual expected increase of about 1.2 to 2.4 exabytes per year.
However, researchers are moving ahead. Many governments use big data to support research projects and advanced technologies. The international agency, Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB), which is an independent monitoring and accountability body to ensure preparedness for global health crises, uses big data to attempt to track and monitor the potential for a global pandemic. At this time the WHO board struggles against national policies, but it manages data in an attempt to understand threats to our global population’s health.
6. Big data and travel
While fully autonomous driving is still a long way from everyday reality, processing big data fed by call data records (CDRs) from mobile data users to optimise travel routes and estimates are on the horizon.
Enormous quantities of traffic data could improve trip generation and commuter transportation management. Tracking locations and matching origins and target destinations of travellers could help people to calculate their travel times better. This real-time data could be used to monitor city traffic and identify congested routes and recommend alternative routes. Map apps such as Waze already provide their users’ such insights based on users allowing their travel to be monitored and added to the live update information for other users. The more people who are using the app, the more accurate it becomes.
7. Simulate oil fields or the quantum realm
One of the biggest beneficiaries of big data analytics is the petroleum industry. With exascale computing power now within reach of oil companies, they are better able to analyse the enormous amount of data generated by seismic sensors. High-fidelity imaging technologies and new algorithms are used to create simulations and big oil more accurate estimates of reservoirs under exploration. This means companies could minimize human and environmental risks while identifying and mapping oil reservoirs, and optimise management and operational costs.
The same advances in processing, I/O solutions and networking allow for the creation of model spatial scales of the subatomic realm to super galactic clusters. The combination of big data, machine learning and AI is opening up portals to the timescales of femtoseconds to aeons.
While this research is not immediately of benefit to businesses, it will most likely play a big part in the activities now reaching frenetic proportions, such as corporations and government entities which are already eyeing future space mining ventures.
8. Natural language processing
Big data, AI, the IoT, and machine learning are pushing the boundaries of human and technological interaction. It gives these technologies a human face through natural language processing (NLP).
As technology develops, our gadgets learn to interact with us in a more natural way. At this time there is no foreseeable threat that the Terminator will rise in 2020, but we should see the interaction between humans and technology become easier. From better keyword searches to more responsive voice command functionality, NLP is expected to enable users.
NLP can also be applied to business expansion by providing access to sentiment analysis. This tells business owners how their customers feel about their brand and can apply specific segmentations demographics such as income levels, educational demographics and spending habits.
Augmented data management is also expected to become more important for companies as AI becomes more efficient with enterprise information management categories. These include data quality, metadata management and master data management among others. Manual data management tasks will be reduced thanks to ML and AI developments, enabling specialists to focus on more high-value tasks.
9. Data governance
In 2018, the EU introduced the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) guidelines which have motivated other, data governance initiatives continue to improve their privacy policies and protect the rights of citizens using the internet in an international space.
In 2018, studies showed that 70% of surveyed businesses worldwide failed to address requests by individuals who want to get a copy of their personal data as required by law. GDPR places the power back in the hands of customers by appointing them as the owners of any information that they create or share.
The regulations benefit online businesses too. Trustworthy businesses will generate more reliable big data. Users will feel more confident using their platform, service or payments systems. When users are empowered and businesses are transparent, sales increase and ROI can be plainly seen.
10. Cybersecurity will remain an issue
Data breaches are a reality. While companies of all sizes struggle to keep pace with malware developers and hackers, consumers pay about US$2 trillion for cybersecurity flaws. Businesses and organisations have many cybersecurity challenges to consider and big data is adding to those considerations. Non-relational databases, limited storage options, and distributed frameworks are some of the most pressing big data security concerns.
Cybersecurity threats will grow in number and complexity as the volume of data targeted also expands. Cybercriminals have a number of options to attack big data from multiple processes and vantage points.
Big data use is going to rise and is likely to continue to dominate in 2020. Making choices about how to use your company resources to make the most of the data that your business generates from sales, accounts and advertising.