Big Data Gone Wild

Talk about big data and all the numbers describing its magnitude is big, too. And with more mobile devices coming into the world, there will be exponentially more data that will need to be managed, stored, and used to create a more customized end-user experience.

Chew on these stats coming out of a seminar on spectrum and mobile data growth's threats and opportunities at this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Robert Pepper, vice president of global technology policy at Cisco, oversees its Visual Networking Index studies, which track data use and consumption. He said in the seminar that mobile data will grow at a compound annual rate of 61% between 2013 and 2018.

“If last year, the data consumption globally was about 1.5 exabytes per month, and in five years we will be adding three times that per year, you're adding the capacity, essentially, of three existing networks in one year,” Pepper said. “Where are we going to get the spectrum to support that kind of tripling of capacity just in that one year? And, between now and then, there is a 11-fold increase in the data consumption across the networks.”

By 2018, Cisco expects mobile data traffic to reach 15.9 exabytes per month, he said.

People's behavior is changing, as well, as more data becomes available (and useful) to them. Aimee Stone Munsell, director of smarter marketing at IBM Software, said about 75% of mobile shoppers will take action after receiving a location-based message, and more often, people are willing to share their location information if they will get something in return.

If this behavior switch is happening on the consumer side, how long do you think it will take to reach the business world? How long will it be before we see wearables, machine-to-machine, and the Internet of Things change the kinds of devices that interact with us? How will they be designed to handle this big data influx while keeping end users hyper-engaged and businesses relatively sane?

Specifically for the electronics supply chain, what will happen to product sales forecasts as those connected devices shift from a mobile phone in your pocket to your refrigerator, your car, or even your toothbrush? Yes, Procter & Gamble was on the MWC show floor introducing its Oral-B smartphone-connected toothbrush, which integrates with a cool, teeth-displaying app. (It's not as creepy as it seems.)

Wearables didn't exist a few years ago, and now they will require design and supply chain consideration. And what happens to sourcing expectations for parts that weren't given much attention before but soon might be elevated to critical component status? Sensors immediately come to mind. Just look at all the sensors that will be in these new wearables as an example.

The multiplication of big data creates many unknowns for the electronics industry. But is it a threat or an opportunity? You tell me.

12 comments on “Big Data Gone Wild

  1. docdivakar
    March 18, 2014

    Jennifer, I think the market for analytics (and perhaps in the next stage prognostics) based on big data is clearly segmented into real time data and historical data. The latter tends to be typically bigger than 'big' data in any vertical of the big data market. While the attention to big data topics has indeed gone 'wild', I am yet to see what monetization models will survive from analyzing big data.

    MP Divakar

  2. Eldredge
    March 18, 2014

    Probably the realisitic answer is both. I do think that the opportunities will come to those who are wise/judicious about what data to acquire and how to use it. Stockpiling data will rapidly become costly and untenable.

  3. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    March 20, 2014

    @DocDivakar, thanks for chiming in! I agree that the market is segmented and it will take time to see what will come out of all the hoopla. Most organizations underestimate how much data they could cull from various systems and many don't know how to bring it together in a useful way. More concerning, many don't know how to secure the data once it is brought together into a monetizable form. It will take time for everyhting to shake out.

    Have you seen any good examples of use cases yet? or how long do you think we'll have to wait?

  4. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    March 20, 2014

    @Eldredge, we've been stockpiling data for a long time now, perhaps decades. Storage has gotten cheaper and people get busy. I think, thogh, that the more we know about the data we have, the easier it will be to figure out what to keep and what to get rid of. Judicious trashing of old data will make everything much more efficient, I'm sure.

  5. docdivakar
    March 20, 2014

    @Hailey: I can give you several examples of real time and historical data analytics and combinations of both.

    Brazil for example is experimenting with no license plates for cars in Rio. Vehicles will have passive RFID tags for everything related to the vehicle's use and operation in the city or wherever it travels to. In fact, RFID tags are mandatory in all vehicles starting 2014 in Brazil ( The tags can be read by only authorized officials and entities and are nearly 100% counterfeit-proof. They can be used for many other applications such as the iTrack / Fastrack-like access to tolls and carpool lanes. Privacy and data security not withstanding, there are many benefits to no-license plate vehicles, such as avoiding thieves following you! The data from the pilot program was already crossing terabytes monthly in the small pilot program alone! In this application, the real time data is probably more often accessed than historic.

    A use case for historic data would be the smart infrastructure examples -monitoring of bridges with sensor networks which yields large volumes of data (daily/hourly temperature data, deflections, etc.). One can then use the data to estimate the damage/stress accumulated and predict remaining usable life of that structure.



  6. SunitaT
    March 20, 2014

    The supply chain can only wait till the wearable tech gains momentum. While more and more technology along the lines of connected things are approaching, many companies are warming up to the prospects of increasing their business, however, the most of the companies are still unsure whether this kind of technology would benefit people in the long run, and are hence slow in making decisions. They only want to invest until they see successful running models. This is going to make the supply chain wait over the design principles of connected technology. Supply chain cannot progress to make such technology unless it gets an “ok go” signal from the giants of companies.

  7. Eldredge
    March 21, 2014

    @ Rich – By that definition, we are already being stalked. I'm sure it's all for our own good!

  8. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    March 22, 2014

    @Docdivakar, thanks for these great examples. I learned something… I hadn't realized the innovation associated with RFID, but more have tracked it as part of a logistics strategy.

  9. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    March 22, 2014

    @Rich, don't move to London. It's officially one of the most surveilled (is that a word?) cities in the world.

  10. SunitaT
    March 23, 2014

    @Hailey: Judicious trashing of old data cannot be done, because at any time any kind of data might be required for any company. And with the advent of Internet, I think deleting old data will only hamper the “free to move around” right of the average man having a healthy online footprint.

  11. SunitaT
    March 23, 2014

    @docdivakar: Historical data needs to be stockpiled because who decides from which point does history begin? For any employee related with the technological aspect in a company, old data may not be necessary, and can be deleted, but what about the management sector of the company, which may need any kind of case file or old directions from the data sector? History for any engineer might begin from yesterday, but for them it might begin from the creation of the company. Hence stockpiling of data needs to be done. Also who gets to decide what kind of data to trash?

  12. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    March 24, 2014

    @tiriapur, certianly information on the Internet is out there forever. Within the organization, though, there are legal and practical ramifications for maintaining records forever. It is legitimate and good data hygeine to make sure that some types of corporate data are maintained as long as is legally required and not longer. If it remains availalbe, it can still be used against the organization in the event of a lawsuit.

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