The New York Times recently had an extensive article on The Age of Big Data by Steve Lohr. Data is now growing at 50 percent a year, or more than doubling every two years according to IDC. This has created a big demand in the job market. According to McKinsey the, “United States needs 140,000 to 190,000 more workers with “deep analytical” expertise and 1.5 million more data-literate managers, whether retrained or hired.”
The World Economic Forum at Davos, issued a report, “Big Data, Big Impact,” that “declared data a new class of economic asset, like currency or gold.” The report summary notes that a large portion of big data comes from “the interactions over mobile devices being used by people in the developing world - people whose needs and habits have been poorly understood until now.” As the report adds the trick is channeling these torrents of data into actionable information.
This is a topic I have covered a bit here (see Gartner Reports that Big Data Challenges Go Beyond Managing Large Volumes of Data). This report made the same point as the Davos Forum about actionable content. In another post I wrote about two types of big data (“Big Data” vs. “Big Content” Complementary Sides of Information Overload). As I wrote then while big data is a challenge for many large organizations, big content is a challenge that all Web users face every day. How do you deal with the fire hose of content coming at you from the Web, especially from the all the user-generated content sites like Twitter or blogs? We all have to deal with the problem of too much content to absorb and understand. This is why I am adding the term big content so the focus is on the meaning and not the number of bytes. The two terms complement each other.
As the Davos reports points out there are now new areas to gain additional understanding. It is interesting that the New Times leaves off the second half of the title of the Davos report: Big Data, Big Impact: New Possibilities for International Development. They also do not pick up much on this important point. We have seen it in several uses cases of the Darwin Awareness Engine™.
I have covered Darwin a bit on this blog so here is a brief summary. The Awareness Engine creates content visualizations that allow you to quickly scan across the themes contained in the content within your topic of interest. To find what is meaningful to you. With the Scan Cloud, the top 100 themes within a set of content are displayed in a manner that allows for easy sorting and investigation. With Buzz tape, the topics of rising interest appear like a stock ticker and then you can make the ones of interest become the center of a Scan Cloud.
One of our clients has a data center is a developing country. They use Darwin to monitor what is happening in the area for both security and opportunity purposes. Another client is trying to expand their reach beyond the US. They use Darwin to monitor opportunities in other countries where the related reporting infrastructure is not in place. Instead they can see what is happening of relevance on the social Web. These are just some of the new opportunities to gain actionable content through the expansion of big data to the developing world.