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The Internet of Things (IoT) is connecting everything in our business and personal lives. All of these connected devices are providing new data that give us information about the world around us. Similarly, Social Media is providing data about the people in our lives. Together with your existing corporate information systems, you now have access to vast quantities of data (Big Data). However, data alone are not enough, they need to be analyzed in order to provide you with actionable insights that enable you to make effective business decisions. Big Data & Analytics are providing unprecedented insights into the world around us, and leveraging these insights is one of the primary drivers of business success today.
The Internet has evolved through four broad phases. The first phase was simply about being 'connected' - it was about having a website that connected you to the world, allowing everyone to find you and see your data (e.g. product information). Phase two was about automating our business processes by moving them from paper-based approaches to the Internet. This became known as Electronic Business (eBusiness). The third phase was about automating human interactions, with applications such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram - i.e. Social Media. The fourth phase, the phase we are now in, is focused on connecting all of the 'things' in our world by adding sensors of various types to almost everything in our lives, from our cars and TVs to phones and watches. For example, temperature sensors on piece of manufacturing equipment, GPS sensors in our cars, or Cameras and Microphones (visual and audio sensors) in our phones. In short, IoT = sensor data.
The term 'Big Data' is used to describe the vast array of data that we have access to today. This includes data coming from traditional data sources, such as our corporate information systems, coupled with data coming from new sources such as sensor data from connected devices (IoT data) and Social Media data (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc.) But Big Data is about more than the volume of data at our disposal. The new data sources of IoT and Social Media are also providing us with new types of data such as video and voice, streaming data coming from connected devices, and human interactions. The velocity of data today has also changed. Unlike traditional data which is typically processed in batch mode at the end of the day, week or month, IoT and Social Media data are ocurring in real time.
Business success is dependent on making sound business decisions in a timely manner, and in today's world that means being able to analyze data to obtain insights about your customers, employees and business assets. Simple analysis can be achieved through commonly available office software such as Spreadsheets. More in-depth analysis requires sophisticated, purpose built analytic tools (packages) such as SAS, Tableau or Pentaho which are used by appropriately trained Business Analytics experts to provide Business Intelligence insights. However, when off-the-shelf packages don't have the capabilities to provide the unique needs or insights, a custom solution is required - and that is the role of Data Science: custom designed and developed solutions that meet the specific needs of your organization.