The processing of mega amounts of data – from a few terabytes to petrabytes – is a constantly moving target as more and more people in the world transact, communicate and move online.
Defined as a new generation of systems and architecture that processes mega-volumes of diverse data quickly and efficiently by enabling high velocity capture, discovery and analysis, Big Data is now on the radar of many African businesses.
Big Data uses inductive statistics (as opposed to business intelligence, which uses descriptive statistics) to allow it to process high-volume, low-information data with some predictive capabilities. There are a myriad of examples of how Big Data underwrites business processing such as Facebook handling 50 billion+ photos from its user base and Amazon.com communicating and transacting with millions of customers around the world on a daily basis.
Aside from mega-processing capabilities, Big Data can also help steer consumers themselves in the right direction by assimilating individual details and referring them to things they may like -personality matching – such as Google serving you ads based on your likes and web surfing profile or dating sites matching you with your perfect partner. It’s scary stuff but it can also be extremely useful for both businesses and individuals when the analysed data helps to save time, cost and energy in providing decision-making information.
The term ‘Big Data’ is still relatively unknown but this is due to change in the next year. Big Data will be particularly pertinent for companies operating on the African continent, where infrastructure and network roll-out and smartphone penetration is continuing apace making the need for analysing bulk information match that in developed markets. From an industry perspective, there is already an increased demand for skills in advanced and predictive analytics. Third party platform growth is estimated to grow by 90% in the next seven years as more and more data is going to need to be processed; this will require not only skills but also hardware and software development too.
Industries most likely to be taking advantage of this growth and whose CIOs, CMOs and Business Intelligence Officers should be attending AfricaCom’s first Big Data Africa Congress at the CTICC in November include telecommunications; marketing and media; banking and finance; health and life insurance; healthcare; retail and; government.
Informa Telecoms and Media (ITM), the organisers of AfricaCom, which takes place at the Cape Town International Conference Centre in November 2013, have recognised the importance and growth of this sector and are going big. They have invited several industry experts to share their knowledge and experience of the Big Data arena.
Some of the key topics to be discussed will be:
- How to monetise big data analytics
- Revolutionising healthcare
- How Telcos can tap into the value of Big Data
- Leveraging Big Data for bigger revenues
- Mining Big Data and
- City of Cape Town perspective on Big Data, mobile technologies and the innovation imperative
The rise of infinite data is also opening up many new business and career opportunities and is set to be among the fastest growing and most exciting industries to work in. The Big Data Congress at AfricaCom 2013 will provide great networking opportunities as well as provide practical ways for deriving value from the data opportunity that applies to Africa’s emerging markets.