Big data has been somewhat of a buzzword over the last few years, meaning plenty of hype and misinformation has sprung up around it. Even the CTO of Teradata - a major player in data warehousing and analytics - is frustrated by people failing to understand what it means.
Having spent a week at the Teradata Partners Conference in Dallas and heard from both large enterprises and Teradata executives, as well as leading analysts, V3 has broken down 10 of the biggest myths around big data to set the record straight.
1. Big data is new
While the terminology is new, the concept of analysing large amounts of data is certainly not. Many, including Teradata CTO Stephen Brobst, see it as a bit of a misleading term dreamed up by marketing folk as people began to realise the value of their data. To that end, Brobst believes we won't be hearing about it for much longer: "Big data will go away as a term - not within 12 months but within 24 to 36 months," he says.
2. Big data is a commodity
Newcomers to the concept of big data sometimes interpret it as a special form of data, separate from all other lowly data forms. But it's not.
"Can you buy a database?" asks distinguished Gartner analyst Donald Feinberg. "Yes. Can you buy a server? Yes. Can you buy a big data? No. It is not a market. It is a piece of every single IT market. Is it worth billions? Yes, but it's not a market, it's not a thing and it's not new."
3. Big data is a problem
This is more a glass-half-full kind of approach and is open to debate, but in its basic form, big data has a lot of potential, even if it's not being used properly, or even at all.
So long as the data exists and can be used in a helpful way in future, it should only be seen as an opportunity. An expensive opportunity, sure, but an opportunity nonetheless.
The problem with the data is failing to turn it into something which is both legible and practical for analysis, which is often the biggest challenge for companies.
4. Your data is useful only to you
According to Gartner statistics, 30 percent of businesses in the next couple of years will find a way to monetise the data they hold. Cue the panic and worry associated with selling customer data to the highest bidder. Entries five and six will both reassure you and terrify you in equal measure.
5. People don't care how you use their data
It is true to say that many people do prefer advertising to be targeted and relevant; data-driven marketing is the next big thing for big data.
But when your phone starts vibrating as you enter a shop, telling you about a rival retailer who can sell you the same stuff for less, that's probably the point to start thinking about the service's you've signed up to.
Even seemingly hugely innocuous attempts at the utilisation of people's behaviour receives more negative attention than it's seemingly worth. London WiFi smartbins - which kept track of people's smartphone MAC address to display targeted ads on billboard-style bins - is a clear example of this.
As soon as the City of London Corporation realised what was going on, it banned them. And let's not even start on Facebook's $20m class action lawsuit.
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