Dating back to the 1960s, computers were only large mainframes stored in rooms, known now as data centers where businesses were only allowed to rent out space on the mainframe to fulfill specific functions using data obtained. In contrast, research conducted by IBM has proven that as of 2007, the average data center consumes as much energy as 25000 homes, indicating how important data has become. To understand the impact of data in our daily lives, we look no further than the movie rental market. Previously, neighborhood stores would base their selection of movies based on customer preferences and which movies were rented most often. Today, these stores no longer exist. Movie rental companies now use a vast array of data points to obtain information on movies based on views, customer segmentation based on age, timing of movie view, availability of subtitles and device, the content was viewed on. Other information is taken from internet searches, browsing and clicks on certain webpages. All this information is fed back in real time, allowing the movie rental company or website to tailor their movies and options as per the users’ needs.
In an environment that is constantly and rapidly changing, vast amounts of data is created everyday by the interactions of billions of people using computers, GPS systems, satellite navigation, sensors, in-store information of customer habits and so on. The growing technological ability to process and analyze such huge sets of data known as Big Data using systems like Hadoop, will lead to revolutionary changes. However, even with the need for so much data, big data is still only used by a very few. In EY’s Global Forensic Data Analytics Survey 2014, 72% of respondents believe that emerging big data technologies can play a key role in fraud prevention and detection. Yet only 7% of respondents were aware of any specific big data technologies, and only 2% were actually using them. This allows for competitive advantage for all new entrants entering into the market and opting to use Big Data. Big data is already showing potential for genetic mapping and personalized e-commerce and big data backed by the exponential growth in processing power and software technologies such as Hadoop, are allowing organizations to make decisions that simply could not be made before, to handle all sorts of data questions and that will have a resounding impact. Big data will have an impact on all industries and every process. Its influence will be felt in business planning, research, sales, production and elsewhere and these amounts to nothing less than new industrial revolution. The advances in capturing and analyzing big data allow us to decode human DNA in minutes, find cures for cancer, accurately predict human behavior, foil terrorist attacks, pinpoint marketing efforts, prevent diseases and so much more.