What is big data? Large Data is the buzzword in HFT (High Frequency Trading) circles these days. The concept is simple enough: large data sets which have previously been analyzed, are collected, organized, analyzed and then used in a way that allows the trader to make better decisions about trading. Big Data is a very specific field, which deals with methods to analyze, extract valuable information from, or otherwise handle extremely large data sets which are simply beyond the reach of traditional data processing software. Traders are now not only interested in using Big Data to improve their own trades; they want to use it to protect themselves, as well!
The explosion of social media and related technologies has created a new market space – the internet of things (also known as datacenters). This represents an unprecedented opportunity for companies who wish to use big data tools to detect emerging trends and even develop innovative products. Many companies have already begun to take advantage of such opportunities, however not all have the resources to process all the massive amounts of unstructured data sets which are flooding the market. In fact many of them have even lost money as a result! It is no wonder then that experts in this field are beginning to speak of a new age of ‘Big Data’.
The reason why this new market has emerged is fairly obvious: technology is playing a much greater role in both developing and protecting this new market than ever before, and big data sets represent one of the best challenges for IT companies. There are some truly amazing developments taking place. Experts believe that in ten years’ time we may look back on the present period where we were running IT services on massive unmanageable datacenters, and indeed the amount of data that was being processed then was staggering. It is true to say that social media, online communities and other forms of social media are making it much easier for large volumes of unstructured, unprocessed data sets to be processed.
One area of significant interest is already being covered by social media. This is because people are naturally social by nature, and there is no doubt that this will also have an impact on what is termed ‘big data’. Indeed, social media has already started to collect large volumes of information about individuals, and this information is being used in various ways. For example, some online communities are actively encouraging citizens to report any suspicious activity they might see on their community pages, and there are even some online communities that are using sophisticated software to analyse this data and report back to the members within the community. These types of efforts are already underway, and it is easy to see why experts expect this trend to continue.
Another area where we are seeing big data in action is with regard to extracting value from the enormous amounts of data that are being produced each day. Take for example the massive amounts of data that are being produced each day by companies such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, and LinkedIn. While it may not be immediately clear what is big data, one thing is clear: these companies have developed sophisticated systems in which to extract value from this vast amount of data. What is big data today is the ability to use advanced tools to mine this data and make sense of it. In other words, what is big data today is the means by which companies can make money from the huge quantities of information that are being produced each day.
With regard to online communities, this is also beginning to play a large part in what is big data. Take for example the large numbers of photos which are being posted online each day. In these photos we can glimpse into the private lives of individuals, and the public is now able to see this information as well. Of course, not all of these photos are private, and in fact many are posted by members of online communities themselves! It is here that big data begins to play a very important role.
As online communities continue to develop more features, it is becoming increasingly difficult for businesses and people to stay anonymous. There are now tools which allow people to remain anonymous when posting to these social networks. The question then becomes, how does this impact the way in which data and analysis are collected and used? Is it possible for social networks to provide an anonymous browsing tool which would allow users to browse the websites which they normally would have stayed away from?
One possible answer to this question is that social networks would indeed have the capacity to make the study of big data work for them. After all, if the target audience is based on a particular niche, then having access to this type of information will give these social networks an advantage over competitors. By using tools that mask IP addresses and location, they would be able to access the data even when the user itself is not nearby. However, given the potential for abuse, this system will almost surely have to be regulated to some extent, and probably will have to be limited to certain types of data. As with anything else, though, this will only be a trial, and once it has been established, it will almost surely be mandatory for all sites.