Big data’s big impacts are not going away

Big data is the big thing these days, and I don’t know much about it, so I attended the AAMA’s Big Data–Big Impact conference recently at the Tech Museum in Mountain View. It was very well done, with a good variety of speakers and panelists.

While I’m not a technologist, I am very interested in market trends and the history of technology. I wanted to find out if this was truly one of the ‘next big things’ in the technology industry, and what it could mean for us and our clients.

It turns out that big data really is big. I think there is no question that it’s significant in terms of its impact on consumers and businesses. As we look to the future, it’s important to understand how to leverage and control big data, and what and how to gather, analyze and use all of this information.

There are multiple opportunities in a variety of industries. For example in transportation, it is used for air traffic control, and the logistics of airport operations. Airport logistics, for example, are very complicated and involve multiple systems working together. The ability to harness this amount of data helps end customers as well as the airline industry.

Utility companies, traffic control for roads and bridges, all have numerous applications that couldn’t be done before. Whether big data applications are integrated into existing solutions or they are complete systems, there are huge opportunities to harness the data they gather, which opens up new markets such as data analytics in sports and gaming.

Big data breakthroughs are now possible due to the rapidly dropping cost of computing power and communications infrastructure. They weren’t affordable as recently as five years ago, even though ideas and applications were there.

After a day of listening and learning, I concluded that big data is not a temporary trend or bubble. The number and extent of potential applications is phenomenal, and will be embedded in existing technology, and evolve into a mature business, creating new technology, new infrastructure and possibilities for many kinds of companies.

If CFOs and management teams have access to the right big data, and know how to analyze and interpret it, will big data help their business decisions? Will it change the CFO world in some way? I think these questions have yet to be answered. One thing is certain:  we will be hearing much more about this technology in the near future.

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