Steve Mills, Senior Vice President and Group Executive, explains why Big Data is the next big commodity, and why you should be prepared for it’s arrival.
Frustration with “information overload” is one of the facts of life these days. For many people, the deluge of information they’re confronted with every day at work, on TV, on the Internet, and, increasingly, on mobile phones and tablet PCs too often seems like a burden that has to be overcome rather than a benefit.
It doesn’t have to be so. At IBM, we believe the super-abundance of information, often called “Big Data,” should be thought of as nothing less than a tremendous new natural resource. In fact, information is becoming the petroleum of the 21st century. But we need a new generation of analytics technology and expertise to help us make the most of it.
What exactly is Big Data? It’s a product of the Internet combined with all the new ways that are emerging to gather, discover and make sense of data. For years, business people collected information in relational databases—made up of tabular columns and rows. Then came the Internet and search engines that help us find just the nuggets of information we want on millions of Web pages. Now, add to that all the data that can be collected from the Internet of Things—tens of millions of sensors that gather everything from the vital signs of babies in ICUs to the currents at the bottom of the ocean to location data gathered from millions of smartphones.
The promise of Big Data is truly mind-boggling. If we can harvest insights from all of those sources of information, rather than being overwhelmed by data, we have the capacity to understand with greater precision than ever before how our world actually works. By applying analysis to data, we can see once-hidden patterns unfolding before our eyes so we can make better decisions about everything from personal financial planning to a company’s strategic direction. We can accurately predict what will happen if we make one decision rather than another. And we can meld together streams of information coming from many different sources, and, often in real time, decide how best to respond to sudden changes.
The era of Big Data has arrived. The implications are huge. So are the technical and organizational challenges. But, in partnership with our clients, we hope to deliver on the immense potential of Big Data for making businesses, the global economy and society work better.
To read more about IBMs Big Data Solutions, click here.
Otherwise, think you know Big Data? Take IBMs Big Data Challenge here.