Is Big Data Going To Live Up To The Hype?

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By Jacob Maslow

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You really can’t fault startups for talking up the commercial value of Big Data. After all, there is a lot at stake on the validity of this technology trend. Billions in venture funding and possible future IPOs ride on whether Big Data can live up to the hype of its boosters. The big problem with Big Data is one of definition. Is it simply sifting through data generated by one enterprise or a pool of different enterprises? What about data ownership issues? Besides legacy and enterprise uses is there a consumer add-on or feed-in? Depending on how you answer these questions (among many other Big Data-related concerns), Big Data can either be the greatest thing since sliced bread or it might be the Hollow Man of tech trends.


Big Data can be huge if it uses open data that has many different uses. Herein lies the rub, such data is actually pretty uncommon. It exists-government data and macroeconomic data for example-but the existing pool of data might not be granular enough to build whole industries on. If Big Data were to be defined as primarily software technology that helps enterprises make better sense of the huge amount of data they collect over a period of time, Big Data is easier to pin down, define, and implement. The problem with this definition is that it is primarily tool-based and enterprise-focused. There’s still big money to be made but not spectacularly huge money. We’re talking about solutions that aren’t that far removed from current custom enterprise data mining and analysis software.

Unless Big Data can solve its definition problem, it will remain a buzzword that only serves to get investors giddy while not achieving much else.

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