It’s no exaggeration to say that big data is big business nowadays. Research by IDC suggests the big data analytics market is growing at 11 per cent each year, and will soon be worth more than $200 billion. That’s not entirely surprising when you consider the predictions for future data volumes, with the ten zettabytes of data generated in 2015 expected to increase 18-fold by 2025.
Big data sounds like a big deal. But is it?
In the beginning, there was data. And it was good. So good, in fact, companies demanded more of it. Data could be used to identify past trends, shape current policies and predict future events. Eventually, the volumes of information being generated became so large and complex that a grander term was needed. It had to reflect the need for powerful mass-scale number-crunching algorithms, instead of traditional data processing software.
Is the world big enough for both tech giants?
We’ve had tech long enough to know that as it improves two things happen, speed goes up and size goes down. We may be a little way off Williams Gibson’s cyberpunk dystopia yet, but until we get there… it’s a safe bet our most powerful computers will be in our pockets.
The big question then is what are we going to do with all this portable processing? The race to miniaturize our lives has begun and it looks like there are only two players.
Algorithms are an essential part of computing. But what are they, and how can they benefit people who don’t know a byte from a Boolean?