A recent article by Ashlee Vance on the New York Times website made me stop and think. Yes, we are creating and installing so many data generating sensors that we are starting to see the need for more and more storage grow faster than we can build that capacity. As Ashlee points out, the big players are all working on solutions for massive data warehouses. While the need for raw capacity is important, and many companies can meet that need, but the real question is how to mine all that data for information we can use to improve businesses, life, or even the world.
If we can catalog everything that happens all the time, we can start to learn more and more about the patterns, trends, and importance of certain aspects of life. When crossing the street, do more people step off the curb with their left foot or their right foot? Is that important to know? Would it be different in London than in New York since the traffic is generally running the opposite direction of each other?
I am fascinated at this concept – researchers telling innovators how humans tend to think and act – How certain business practices and offerings are more competitive and successful than others? There is much we can improve if we really know what people and institutions prefer. The concept of “Crowdsourcing” can become a reality once the data is collected and the analysis can be performed in a timely fashion.
How are you using the data you collect? Are you more competitive, successful, and better off from mining that collected data?