The latest information session held by ictQATAR’s Digital Incubation Center (DIC) was an opportunity for Qatar’s community of “technovators” to understand what the exponential growth of online data means for them.
The term ‘big data’ refers to the increasingly large and complex data sets that must be analyzed if businesses are to be competitive. According to experts like Dr. Mohammed J. Zaki, Principal Scientist in Data Analytics at Qatar Computer Research Institute, being able to make good use of such data can spur productivity growth, innovation and consumer surplus.
Gartner, an American information technology research and advisory firm that provides technology-related insight, has defined big data as “high-volume, high-velocity and high-variety information assets that demand cost-effective, innovative forms of information processing for enhanced insight and decision making.” Essentially, it allows companies to create value out of information.
The increase in data volume has many causes, one being the advent of social media and wireless and mobile technology. Velocity is a function of the fact that data is being transmitted faster than ever before. Data now comes in unstructured as well as structured formats, such as through email, video and financial transactions. In addition, data is highly variable and complex, making the challenges of making sense of it very great.
For DIC incubatees, understanding how to analyze big data is one of the important tools they need to master in order to be successful in their business. Product development is an essential phase of any tech start-up’s journey. Big data allows the start-ups to develop their products and optimize their offerings in many ways – for example, by allowing them to identify their key customers, or by using customer purchase history to predict future behavior. Yet, big data is more than just another business asset; it can enable start-ups to disrupt markets. Netflix is one tech start-up using big data in this way, by using machine learning to recommend the movies that customers are most likely to want.
Big data is big, you might say. The global big data market is expected to grow to $46.34 billion by 2018. The rise of big data is not only a reflection of the enormous changes we are experiencing in the digital world, but is also a driver of those changes. Indeed, Gartner predicts that by 2020, information will be used to “reinvent, digitalize or eliminate 80% of business processes and products from a decade earlier.” This means that companies failing to manage big data will simply be left behind. It also means that big data will be an essential driver for the Internet of Things (IoT) as human intervention is increasingly replaced by intelligent and connected devices and machines.
Big data is a big deal in the business world, that is why DIC continues its efforts to ensure that its start-ups graduate from the program with the tools they need to be successful.
You can view the session’s video via ictQATAR’s YouTube channel.