When it comes to discussing the finer points of Big Data with people you’re just as likely to make new friends as you are potential enemies. But just why is this, exactly? Is there something inherently wrong with Big Data itself? First off, please realize that the entire field of Big Data analysis is merely part of a solution for a very real and growing problem, namely, the exponential accumulation of data.
A staunch Big Data critic might say something to the effect of “Big Data is leading us down the path toward the end of privacy as we know it”. While it’s true that the analysis systems employed through Big Data are in fact capable of “connecting dots” in ways that no one could have seen or predicted, it’s quite a stretch to go from there to resting under the boot of Big Brother. Remember, when the internet was first coming into use there were similar predictions made by a number of individuals, all of them stating that something was inherently wrong with this new technology and that it would lead to ruin. Well, here we are decades later since the net as we know it was brought into existence and everything seems fine, wouldn’t you agree?
Big Data is defined by Wikipedia as:
“a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications.”
The point is, Big Data isn’t something that’s been designed to take away your personal liberties. It’s more a product of human social interaction, and all of the analysis tools were created to ensure that we have some means of processing the insanely large amount of information that pours into the web on a daily basis. Like it or not, Big Data tools and methodologies are your friends.
Just to put things into perspective; it has been said time and time again that “90% percent of the data in the world has been created in the last 2 years.” This just goes to show you how much exponential growth there is in terms of data which is amassed. If people hadn’t taken the initiative and started the Big Data movement, it’s very likely that the internet would soon find itself to be in danger. After all, it’s not as if all of that data out there will simply find a suitable place to park itself or disappear, it’s up to people to physically create solutions for storing it.
At the same time, because these data sets are so incredibly large, it’s generally not possible to use conventional analysis tools to either organize or break them down. This essentially implies that it’s harder to both find specific data as well as create systems whereby the information itself can become searchable. Solutions have been developed of course, which is why Big Data is considered to be one of the top growth fields for the IT industry. Perhaps one of the smartest approaches to breaking down Big Data has been to bring Cloud Computing into the equation. The cloud’s scalability and access to nearly limitless amounts of computing power (not to mention, ability to tap into new technologies at will via integrated software), make it very well-suited toward Big Data applications. Not convinced? Then read this piece at ZDNet which covers how cloud providers are working with big data.
Others are trying to point out that, although Big Data is certainly very popular, it has yet to cross over in such a way as to provide products or services for individuals like resellers. Rest assured, the overall importance of Big Data is only going to increase as time moves forward. Right now, we appear to be at a sort of crossroads where segments of professionals are still somewhat confused about how to approach the issue or deploy certain solutions.
Likewise, the people who are involved in actually creating these highly technical processes which are used to break down Big Data in order to extract additional value from it are striving to break new ground all the time. It seems like every single day we hear about the latest game-changing event that’s taking place with regards to something like Big Data analysis; over time, we’ll see more “perfected” systems emerge which will make it easier for vendors to then pick up on the technology and sell it directly to consumers and businesses.
In the meantime, anyone who considers themselves to be on the cutting-edge of the IT sphere should seriously look into some form of certification and/or training in the field of Big Data. Why, you ask? The bottom line is that Big Data isn’t something that’s simply going to go away. While Big Data is seen as a growing problem it’s also a potential source of growth in at least 2 distinct ways:
It will probably create more employment opportunities in the very near future
Through analysis of Big Data, additional value can be extracted. This will likely lead to a situation where collected data itself becomes more highly valued (not to mention the extra value gained through analysis of said data).
It’s time to face the facts, Big Data is altering the digital landscape and for those individuals and businesses that embrace it, there are distinctive benefits which are just waiting for them. At the end of the day it’s not really about whether or not you “trust” or even “like” Big Data, it’s just something that exists which we have to collectively deal with.