Peter Guidi's Blog

How big is Big? The Uber Cloud

In Uncategorized on March 31, 2013 at 6:32 pm

In my last blog I discussed the three high level priorities of Big Data and its role with mobile payment.  In this blog I take a closer look at how big is BIG DATA. Today, retailers have access to the transactional data that they collect at the POS, or is provided to them by 3rd parties. Big Data is the “other data” from the “Uber Cloud”. The Uber Cloud includes all data sources like web server logs and internet clickstream data, social media activity reports, mobile-phone call and text detail records and information captured by sensors.

How big is big? YouTube, FaceBook and Goggle are estimated to store 1400 petabytes of data including more than 35% of the world’s photographs. Between them, they share approximately 11.2 billion page views per day. People “Tweet” about 128 billion times per year at a rate of 4500 tweets per second. Annually, people spend over 2.2 trillion minutes either talking on the phone or sending 6.1 trillion texts. On any given day people are texting 193,000 messages per second or spending 2.2 trillion minutes talking on the phone.  There are only 7 billion people. We can agree, this is BIG!

That’s a lot of millions, billions and trillions: but what is a Petabyte? When I tried to think about how to explain a Petabyte I found myself thinking of Doctor Evil demanding; “one million dollars” not aware of how little a million dollars had become. It is true, a million dollars is not what it used to be, but the same is even truer when considering data.

A Petabyte is big. Mathematically, “a unit of information equal to one quadrillion (short scale) bytes, or 1 billiard (long scale) bytes”.  It’s hard to visualize what a Petabyte could hold. “1 Petabyte could hold approximately 20 million 4-drawer filing cabinets full of text. It could hold 500 billion pages of standard printed text. It would take about 500 million floppy discs to store the same amount of data”. The promise of mobile payments is that retailers will be able to access and use these data sources to build a more profitable, relevant relationship with their customers.

Big Data means Big Data Analytics. Big data analytics is the process of examining large amounts of data from a variety of sources to uncover hidden patterns, unknown correlations and other useful information to engage the consumer during the purchase cycle. Access to Big Data within the mobile wallet will drive radical efficiencies enhancing social engagement and improve information sharing between the consumer and the retailer.

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