‘Big data is the new oil’

Smart systems and global chaos

The world is moving towards a data economy, but the evolution will not be smooth. The global financial crisis is just one example of a data-driven industry fighting for survival. Across the world, companies, and even nations, are wrestling with the future.

Glen Hiemstra, well-known futurist and founder of futurist.com, spoke at SAS Institute’s executive forum in Johannesburg, and set out a vision of the next generation of technology, finance and more.

“The pace of technology change has continued to accelerate, even throughout the economic downturn. “’Really smart’ is on the way,” Hiemstra says, pointing to IBM’s Watson and Apple’s Siri as early forerunners of tomorrow’s smart systems. “We’re really just dipping our toes into it right now, but really smart computers are going to make what we’re doing right now look like child’s play. Look at the computing device on your desk, and realise that you’re looking at a Model T automobile.”

A proliferation of embedded systems and mobile computing is rushing us towards an easily predicted future – the “Internet of things” where everything is connected. Hiemstra extrapolates further, into the flood of data which will accompany that. “I think we’re about 10 years from a future in which most of the things which we carry, the things we wear, the things we drive around in, the buildings we walk into, the homes we live in, are full of embedded intelligence. All of which is communicating, creating reams of data which then can be mined and turned into real information and business opportunities. Companies which don’t put intelligence into all their products will be at a severe disadvantage.”

That data is already a present-day phenomenon. It’s frequently called “big data”, usually inferring that it’s too big to easily manage and analyse with conventional tools. A whole generation of new technologies, and new businesses, is growing around the ability to store, manage and analyse that data.

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Source: itweb.co.za