Order From Chaos: How Big Data Will Change the World
Harnessing the exponential surge in data creates big opportunities.
Thanks to Purefunds Big Data ETF (BDAT) for helping us put this together.
IBM estimates that each day, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created or replicated. That’s the equivalent of a million hard drives filling up with data every hour.
The current volume of data created is substantial: it is so much that 90% of the world’s data has been created in the last two years. However, the amount of information today pales in comparison to what our future holds, as the rate at which data is created is accelerating exponentially.
It’s for this reason that The Economist estimates that there will be roughly 7x more data in 2020 than there was in 2014.
Where Does Big Data Come From?
Big data comes from both internal and external sources. Internally, millions of old documents and records are scanned and archived by businesses. Most of the time, no detailed analytics have ever been run on this information. Externally, the public web offers millions of data sets published for public consumption by government, economic, census, and other sources.
There’s also a broad spectrum of data that exists that can be a part of both of these categories: social media posts, documents, emails, business applications, machine log data, media, and sensor data can all be collected, processed, and analyzed. To get a sense of the extent of this information, here’s what is created every hour just from social media and email: 72 hours of video uploaded to Youtube, 4 million search inquiries on Google, 200 million emails sent, 2.5 million shares on Facebook, and 300,000 tweets made.
Big Data = Big Opportunities for Business
With proper analysis, Big Data can lead to new understandings of consumer behaviour, better management decisions, new innovations, and improved risk management. However, there are big challenges in making use of so much information.
- Too much data creates an information overload.
- Organizing and storing all of this data can be problematic.
- Companies don’t know how to use all of this data to create insight.
To organize and make sense of it all, data scientists use the three V’s to describe Big Data.
Volume is the scale at which data is created, and includes the massive amounts of information derived from phones, internet users, machine logs, and internet of things.
Velocity is the analysis of streaming data: for example, modern cars have 100 sensors that monitor different systems in real-time.
Variety is the different forms of data, and it reflects the fact that data comes in all shapes and forms. Finding a way to harmonize multiple types of data can be quite a challenge. Research finds that organizations spend up to 80% of their time modelling and preparing data, rather than actually gaining insight.
Let’s see how companies have been able to use Big Data to create opportunity.
Case Studies of Big Data
Macy’s adjusts pricing in near-real time for 73 million items based on demand and inventory.
American Express developed predictive models that analyze historical transactions and 115 variables to forecast the loyalty of customers. Using this data, they can see if customers may be potentially closing their accounts in the near future. Launching a pilot program in Australia, the company can now identify 24% of accounts in the country that will close in the next four months.
Walmart built a new search engine for their website that includes semantic data relying on text analysis, machine learning, and even synonym mining to create better search results. Online shoppers have been more likely to complete purchases as a result by 10% to 15%, increasing revenue by billions.
Los Angeles and Santa Cruz police departments have used an algorithm that is typically used to predict earthquakes, now using it to look at crime data. The software can predict where crimes are likely to occur down to 500 square feet. In areas the software is being used, there has been a 33% reduction in burglaries and a 21% reduction in violent crimes.
Today’s data centers occupy the land to equivalent to almost 6,000 football fields. By 2020, the amount of digital information is expected to increase exponentially to more than 7x of what it is today.
In healthcare alone, Big Data is expected to eventually save $300 billion per year in healthcare analytics. Retailers may increase margins up to 60% through Big Data analytics.
“Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combusion engine.” – Peter Sondergaard, Gartner Research.
How Decentralized Finance Could Make Investing More Accessible
Under the current global financial system, billions of people do not have access to quality assets. Here’s how decentralized finance is changing that.
Infographic: How Decentralized Finance Could Make Investing More Accessible
Did you know that a majority of the global population doesn’t have access to quality financial assets?
In advanced economies, we are lucky to have simple options to grow and protect our wealth. Banks are all over the place, markets are robust, and we can invest our money into assets like stocks or bonds at the drop of a hat.
In the United States, roughly 52% of people are invested in the stock market – but in a place like India, for example, this portion drops to a paltry 2%. How can we make it possible for people on the “outside” of the financial system to gain access?
Breaking Down Barriers
Today’s infographic comes to us from Abra, and it shows how decentralized finance could make investing a more universal phenomenon, especially for those that don’t have access to the modern financial system.
It lays out four key obstacles that prevent people in developing markets from investing in quality financial assets in the first place:
- The Geographic Lottery
Where you live plays a massive role in determining your ability to build wealth. In advanced Western economies, the average person is much more likely to be invested in financial markets that can help compound wealth.
- Financial Literacy and Complexity
Roughly 3.5 billion adults globally lack an understanding of basic financial concepts, which creates an impenetrable barrier to investing.
- Local Market Turmoil
Even if a person is mentally prepared to invest, local market turmoil (hyperinflation, political crises, closed borders, etc.) can make it difficult to get access to stable assets.
- The Cost of Investing in Foreign Markets
Foreign assets can be pricey. One share of Amazon is $1,800, which is realistically more money than many people around the world can afford.
In other words, there are billions of people globally that can’t take advantage of some of the most effective wealth-building tactics.
This is just one flaw in the current financial system, a paradigm that has created massive amounts of wealth but only for a specific and well-connected group of people.
Enter Decentralized Finance
Could decentralized finance be the alternative to open up access to financial markets?
By combining apps with blockchain technology – specifically through public blockchains such as Bitcoin or Ethereum – decentralized finance makes it possible to get around some of the barriers that are created by more traditional systems.
Here are some of the innovations that are making this possible:
Smart contracts could automate transactions and remove intermediaries, making investing cheaper, faster, and more accessible.
Fractional investing could allow partial or shared ownership of financial assets by using tokenization. This would make expensive stocks like Amazon ($1,800 per share) available to a much wider segment of the population.
Location independent investing is possible through smartphones. This would make it possible for people in remote parts of the developing world to invest, even without access to nearby financial institutions or local markets.
Like the internet with knowledge, decentralized finance could reshape the world by making financial access universal. Who’s ready?
How Much Data is Generated Each Day?
By 2020, there will be 40x more bytes of data than there are stars in the observable universe. See how much data gets added to the mix each and every day.
How Much Data is Generated Each Day?
View the full-size version of the infographic by clicking here
You’ve probably heard of kilobytes, megabytes, gigabytes, or even terabytes.
These data units are common everyday amounts that the average person may run into. Units this size may be big enough to quantify the amount of data sent in an email attachment, or the data stored on a hard drive, for example.
In the coming years, however, these common units will begin to seem more quaint – that’s because the entire digital universe is expected to reach 44 zettabytes by 2020.
If this number is correct, it will mean there are 40 times more bytes than there are stars in the observable universe.
A Crash Course in Data
Today’s infographic comes to us from Raconteur, and it gives us a picture of this new data reality.
Before we get to how much data is created each day – both now, and in the future – it’s worth getting acquainted with how data scales in terms of units.
|Abbreviation||Unit||Value||Size (in bytes)|
|b||bit||0 or 1||1/8 of a byte|
|B||bytes||8 bits||1 byte|
|KB||kilobytes||1,000 bytes||1,000 bytes|
|MB||megabyte||1,000² bytes||1,000,000 bytes|
|GB||gigabyte||1,000³ bytes||1,000,000,000 bytes|
|TB||terabyte||1,000⁴ bytes||1,000,000,000,000 bytes|
|PB||petabyte||1,000⁵ bytes||1,000,000,000,000,000 bytes|
|EB||exabyte||1,000⁶ bytes||1,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes|
|ZB||zettabyte||1,000⁷ bytes||1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes|
|YB||yottabyte||1,000⁸ bytes||1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes|
There’s no doubt that data literacy will only become more important in the future, so make sure you know your zettabytes from your yottabytes!
A Day of Data
How much data is generated in a day – and what could this look like as we enter an even more data-driven future?
Here are some key daily statistics highlighted in the infographic:
- 500 million tweets are sent
- 294 billion emails are sent
- 4 petabytes of data are created on Facebook
- 4 terabytes of data are created from each connected car
- 65 billion messages are sent on WhatsApp
- 5 billion searches are made
By 2025, it’s estimated that 463 exabytes of data will be created each day globally – that’s the equivalent of 212,765,957 DVDs per day!
If you think the above information is fascinating, see what happens in an internet minute.
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