From Information Explosion to Data Analytics, what has changed?
Over years we have seen discussions about data sensitivity and means by which data has been used and misused by companies. From Data buying to Data selling, Data fabricating to Data mining, Data sharing to Data stealing, from being Data centric to being Data driven, Data has been at the centre of business activity in one or the other form. What has changed over the years is the gravity in which data has been used. The term “Information Explosion” was coined back in 1964 to describe the rapid increase of information. Since then there is a gradual increase in the volume of data generation and later with the advent of internet, data generation has multiplied. In 1998, the term “Big Data” was used by John R. Masey, Chief Scientist at SGI and in 2005 it was used by Tim O’Reilly to refer to the large and complex set of data which would be almost impossible to process and manage manually. In the year 2017, data was compared to Oil and the analogy worked well as data empowered industries and contributed as key economic driver the way Oil did. Most of this data has only been created in past two years which is more than the data ever created in history. Recently, Google has compared data to Sunlight, changing the view from data being perceived to be limited source like Oil to being infinite source like Sunlight that regenerates on its own. But is data Sunlight?
Sunlight is known for its own advantages and disadvantages. Few key benefits of sunlight include boosting vitamin D levels in our body, helps in uplifting mood, protects us from various diseases and is a renewable and abundant energy source while excessive exposure to UV rays from the sun can lead to harmful and damaging effects for both plants and humans. Similarly, data is abandoned. Data regenerates and has become inevitable part of our lives. Misuse of this data can be equally devastating. In recent past, there were several instances where there was gross misuse of data.
Cambridge Analytica data breach in one such case where details of millions of Facebook users were misused to create voter profiling and political campaigns. There are several other similar instances where data of individuals are taken without their consent and are used for corporate benefits.
Aadhar leak case in 2018 was another example where data of 130 million Aadhar card holders was leaked from Indian Government website which raised serious data security concern. This data not only comprised name and personal details but also bank account numbers of individuals.
Advance programming technologies and analytics are now able to convert Big Data into Smart Data to drive business strategies and meet business objectives. Google develops its algorithms to show right information to right user based on the Smart Data analysis done from the Big Data which is generated from its search engines.
Almost all social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Matrimony sites, Job sites etc follow one or the other programming method to target their audiences based on the online data that is generated. Amazon uses predictive analysis and personalized recommendations to target its users.
Indian Government in 2017 had appointed L & T Infotech for a $100-million project to identify tax evaders via social media. In 2018, GOI also appointed 10 investigating agencies to intercept, monitor any information that is generated or stored on any computer in order to maintain law and order in the country.
Thus the Smart Data Analysis is extensively used for multiple purposes ranging from driving business strategies, deriving profits out of business, political gains, maintaining law and order and can also be misused in indefinite ways.
Going forward, the challenge is not data privacy but the data itself. The data mining tools know more about our likes, dislikes, financial statements, holiday plans, credit history, professional history and know more about us than our own selves.
AI, Big Data and Analytics is changing the way, the corporates operate. Bots are getting deployed and create mirror audiences which currently accounts for more than 60 % of overall traffic on world's largest websites. Bad bots further rule the platform making the task more difficult with data theft and other issues. More than half of the traffic online is of bots and the challenge further will be to identify and segregate human traffic from bots to generate effective leads. BFSI sector is investing heavily in technology to provide prompt customer services through chat bots and voice bots. Recently one of the bank claimed that they had deployed bots’ about 1.5 years back and it has handled close to eight-million queries since the launch with 90% accuracy on the service. This translates into handling around 14600 queries approximately in a day which is huge number.
While chatbots can help to address routine queries, human agents can help to address complicated queries and grievances from customers. As per the sixth edition of DOMO's research report, it’s estimated that by 2020, for every person on earth, 1.7 MB of data will be created every second. The numbers are mind boggling and figures are multiplying with the use and ease of internet access. With 2.5 quintillion bytes of data generated every single day, data analytics and data mining techniques will play a key role to generate valuable insights and convert Big Data to Smart Data for effective use.
· Copyright © 2019 by Nazneen Shaikh
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except for uses as permitted under the Copyright Act, 1957 (14 of 1957).
· This article is based on secondary research and sources with due regard to the provisions of the Copyright Act, 1957. All views expressed herein belong to the author and are not affiliated with any organisation or website on which the article is viewed.
Nazneen Shaikh is communications professional with over 9 years of experience in working with B2B and B2C companies and has keen interest in technology. She has done her MBA from Symbiosis International University, has worked with companies like TOTAL Oil and DIESL and is currently incharge of Corporate Communications for H-Energy.