Big Data


Wikipedia defines Big Data as ‘data sets whose size is beyond the ability of commonly used software tools to capture, manage, and process the data within a tolerable elapsed time’. According to IDC, in the year just gone (2011), 1.8 zettabytes of digital data was created and we are expected to generate 7ZB a year by 2014. This expansion is happening because it’s so easy to create, save and store data.

The growth in information assets is not limited to large enterprises and agencies. A variety of small and medium sized businesses are having to deal with this flood of data.

Data gleaned from various industry sectors such as media and entertainment, medical, transportation/logistics, retail, utilities, telecommunication and surveillance, are rich in content, images and behavioural patterns. When analyzed, this gold mine of consumer data is invaluable for finding behavioural patterns to enhance real-time business decisions and be at a competitive advantage.

Big data has also brought about a shift in storage technologies and computing architecture that enables high-velocity capture and analysis.

UNICOM is holding a Big Data conference in late September to discuss the all important question for finding the knowledge in this flood of information, to find answers to the following issues and explore the possible benefits.

1. For the UK economy:
– creation of new businesses, and therefore creating jobs

– efficiency gains due to better customer intelligence delivery and supply chain improvements

– inspire the creation of new products, services and markets
2. For Industry:

– Financial services -in retail banking contributing, investment banking and insurance.

– Public sector – better fraud detection and performance management

– Retail – introduction of new consumer products in retail

– Manufacturing – innovation gain via the use of high-performance analytics in the development of new products


1. Storage capacity. What if our capacity to store doesn’t grow as fast as the data expands?
2. Data Protection. Should irrelevant data from your computer be data mined? How can we protect so much data?
3. Managing data. As well as the computers not being powerful enough, there are also not enough people to look after the data.

4. Overly smart computers. Will computers evolve out of our control and use our own data mining tools against us in a way that is harmful to the image of the companies?

Should we ban data expansion or not?

Come to the event and tell us your opinions!


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