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Big data could get even bigger in coming years

Paul Newman Archive
Many companies already have a hard time wrapping their minds around the vast amount of data they can tap to derive insight that will help them make more informed business decisions. However, that feeling may become warped in the future as big data becomes even larger.

Mobile device adoption driving big data growth
Oracle president Mark Hurd recently announced that he anticipates the number of mobile devices in circulation will explode throughout the next few years, increasing from 9 billion now to more than 40 billion by 2020.

In fact, Apple recently launched its fourth-generation tablet, the iPad mini, and announced the company had sold more than 3 million units within three days of its launch. This is compounded with the rapid rate at which consumers are scooping up smartphones. A study by Ernst & Young found that even America's conservative northern neighbors are developing an attachment to their handheld technology, as partner Daniel Baer reported Canadian consumers are now viewing mobile devices as necessities rather than discretionary items.

"Data is growing exponentially," Hurd said, "in some cases, by 35 to 40 percent a year. This is causing big problems for our customers and tremendous economic pressure. Most of our customers are trying to innovate while cutting costs."

On the horizon of a data crisis?
As a result of this enormous growth, Hurd warns that many companies may start to drown in data if they don't have the necessary tools in place. There are three problems in particular that could dampen businesses' big data plans:

1. Adequate storage space
2. Analysts to deliver real-time insights
3. Data quality

Companies that are already struggling to keep up with the content in their systems will need to develop better solutions to accommodate the influx of content, Hurd explains. However, a storage system is just the beginning. Even with enough room to harness all of the content, companies need to make sure data scientists and analysts can easily sort through it to find the needle in the haystack.

This means that data storage systems used the past will need to be integrated with much larger databases that can handle the vast amounts of information that will come flooding in. Although it may seem tedious, updates present companies with great opportunities to cleanse their data, identifying any sets that are decayed or missing information, as this will only pollute their incoming content and taint future results.