Can Big Data Save Lives?

26. June 2012

Date: 26-06-2012
Source: Businessworld: Nayan Chanda

Companies lure customers online and collect loads of data – storing information about purchases, habits, likes, beliefs, travels and more to plan and target future advertising, sell to other firms or project trends. “Big Data is proving an amazingly valuable tool to manage a complex consumerist planet, but it is also creating a sinister world of Orwellian ‘big brothers,’” argues Nayan Chanda, YaleGlobal editor in his column for Businessworld. Companies like Twitter, by highlighting trending topics, make no secret of the massive data trolling. Of course, online data banks contribute to quick awareness of trends, for example, allowing the Securities and Exchange Board of India to prevent fraud; police departments to target crime patterns; and Google to beat governments in identifying flu outbreaks by two weeks. Millions around globe unwittingly release sensitive data online every day. Governments must catch up in reviewing and possibly regulating the many implications; individuals should consider every online click and post, and proceed with caution. – YaleGlobal

There’s a reason why governments and companies hold personalized data; unless checks are instituted, Big Data to Big Brother may be short step away Read the rest of this entry »

Finnish Government Hangs Up on Nokia

22. June 2012

Date: 21-06-2012
Source: WIRED

Finland Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen says the government will not buy shares of Nokia to prop up the ailing national institution.

In Finland, Nokia is apparently not too big to fail.

Finland’s prime minister, Jyrki Katainen, says the government won’t prop up the ailing mobile phone maker by buying its shares, Reuters reports.

Nokia, a national institution in Finland that started out as a paper pulp mill nearly 150 years ago, is in a tailspin as rival smartphone makers gobble up market share. A $270 billion global powerhouse at its height in 2000, the company is now worth about $9 billion. Moody’s last week downgraded Nokia’s credit rating to junk status.

Katainen made his comments in the town of Salo, home to a Nokia factory the company said last week it was shutting down as part of a cost-cutting plan that also slashes 10,000 jobs. Read the rest of this entry »

Creating Clarity with Big Data, or the Blessings of a Deluge [download]

19. June 2012

Date: 19-06-2012

Source: Sogeti by Jaap Bloem

Download the report (pdf), participate in the discussion and help us create clarity! 

Data, data and more data!

Approximately forty years after the beginning of the information era, all eyes are now on its basis: digital data. This may not seem very exciting, but the influx of various data types, plus the speed with which the trend will continue, probably into infinity, is certainly striking. Data, data and more data: we are at the centre of an expanding data universe, full of undiscovered connections. This is not abstract and general, but rather specific and concrete, as each new insight may be the entrance to a gold mine.

In our initial research report on Big Data, the first of four, we give answers to questions concerning what exactly Big Data is, where it differs from existing data classification, how the transformative potential of Big Data can be estimated, and what the current situation is with regard to adoption and planning.

Creating clarity

VINT attempts to create clarity in these developments by presenting experiences and visions in perspective: objectively and laced with examples. But not all answers, not by a long way, are readily available. Indeed, more questions will arise ­ about the road map, for example, that you wish to use for Big Data. Or about governance. Or about the way you may have to revamp your organization. About the privacy issues that Big Data raises, such as those involving social analytics. And about the structures that new algorithms and systems will probably bring us. Read the rest of this entry »

The Two Horsemen of the Enterprise Software Apocalypse

18. June 2012

Date: 18-06-2012
Source: BusinessWeek

At 71, Dave Duffield ought to be retired. He’s spent a half-century starting technology companies and is worth billions. He has a $35 million Dassault Falcon 900EX jet, homes in the Bay Area and Palm Springs, and a seven-building vacation compound on Lake Tahoe with plenty of space for his wife of 28 years and their 10 children, the youngest of whom is an adopted daughter, age 2. On a sizzling June afternoon, Duffield stands in his hangar at an airfield east of San Francisco before a flight to Reno-Tahoe International Airport. “I just bought this Chevy Camaro,” Duffield says, gesturing to the black car parked next to his jet. “It’s probably the only one around with a baby seat in the back.”

Duffield did take a break from the tech game, briefly. After his most successful company, PeopleSoft, was acquired in 2004 for $10.3 billion, he unofficially retired. With his thin frame and rich head of silver hair, he’d sit in a rocking chair on his porch in Tahoe overlooking the lake. The relaxing, family-filled glide into his golden years lasted about three months. “I was rocking away and getting bored,” Duffield says. When he told his wife, Cheryl, that he was starting another business software company, later named Workday, she cried, but didn’t try to stop him. “She understood the higher calling,” Duffield says. Read the rest of this entry »

Mystery of Big Data’s Parallel Universe Brings Fear, and a Thrill

5. June 2012

Date: 05-06-2012
Source: The New York Times

Not long ago, a woman in Tacoma, Wash., received a suggestion from Facebook that she “friend” another woman. She didn’t know the other woman, but she followed through, as many of us have, innocently laying our cookie-crumb trails through cyberspace, only to get a surprise.

On the other woman’s profile page was a wedding picture — of her and the first woman’s husband, now exposed for all the cyberworld to see as a bigamist.

And so it goes in the era of what is called Big Data, in which more and more information about our lives — where we shop and what we buy, indeed where we are right now — the economy, the genomes of countless organisms we can’t even name yet, galaxies full of stars we haven’t counted, traffic jams in Singapore and the weather on Mars tumbles faster and faster through bigger and bigger computers down to everybody’s fingertips, which are holding devices with more processing power than the Apollo mission control. Big Data probably knows more about us than we ourselves do, but is there stuff that Big Data itself doesn’t know it knows? Big Data is watching us, but who or what is watching Big Data? Read the rest of this entry »

How Big Data Gets Real

5. June 2012

Date: 05-06-2012
Source: The New York Times

The business of Big Data, which involves collecting large amounts of data and then searching it for patterns and new revelations, is the result of cheap storage, abundant sensors and new software. It has become a multibillion-dollar industry in less than a decade. Growing at speed like that, it is easy to miss how much remains to do before the industry has proven standards. Until then, lots of customers are probably wasting much of their money.

There is essential work to be done training a core of people in very hard problems, like advanced statistics and software that ensures data quality and operational efficiency. Broad-based literacy in the uses of data should probably happen too, along with new kinds of management, better tools for reading the information, and privacy safeguards for corporate and personal information.

That such a huge number of tasks are taking place is a good indicator that, even with the hype, Big Data is a big deal. Read the rest of this entry »

Rethinking Privacy in an Era of Big Data

5. June 2012

Date: 05-06-2012

Source: The New York Times

Some years ago an engineer at Google told me why Google wasn’t collecting information linked to people’s names. “We don’t want the name. The name is noise.” There was enough information in Google’s large database of search queries, location, and online behavior, he said, that you could tell a lot about somebody through indirect means.

The point was that actually finding out people’s names isn’t necessary for sending them targeted ads. It can probably lead to trouble, as Google’s own adventures in Wi-Fi snooping show. Even without knowing your name, increasingly, everything about you is out there. Whether and how you guard your privacy in an online world we are building up every day has become increasingly urgent.

Privacy is a source of tremendous tension and anxiety in Big Data,” Read the rest of this entry »