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Roundup of June news articles

Paul Newman

July 2, 2013

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Another month has gone by, and the business world has continued to move toward an era of more information mined, more emphasis on data quality and better use of analytics. As companies realize the benefits to be had when collecting and leveraging data, they gradually begin to expend more time, energy and money toward their data-based initiatives.

This month has been one of tremendous growth for the data community. Standards of quality have improved, technology has made significant advancements and the use of data is spreading to more fields, both in the public and private sectors. Here's a look at the month that was.

An emphasis on quality
According to Silicon Angle, there's been a greater emphasis lately on improving data quality worldwide. David Floyer, chief technology officer and co-founder of Wikibon, notes that this has become a greater priority for businesses in recent years.

"We were interested in the Internet of Things, what was going to happen after the consumer internet," Floyer said. "We were looking at other big data areas, and the quality of data coming out of these machines is much, much higher than that coming from the consumer internet."

Floyer noted that all "industrial internet spending" in 2012 reached a massive total of $20 billion. An increasingly large slice of this spending pie is now devoted to maintaining the accuracy of information.

A quest for better standards
While it's universally agreed that quality is important to the data community, there's still a lack of consensus on the level of quality necessary. Data expert Dan Myers wrote for Information Management that businesses must agree on a set of quality guidelines for their own sake.

"Now is the right time for the data quality industry to finalize a set of standards, much like the accounting field has done with the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles," Myers wrote.

Location, location, location
One noteworthy technological innovation that's come about recently - by using geographic location data on consumers, companies are able to isolate where their business is coming from and devise strategies on how best to attack those areas.

Matt Felton, director of research and geographic information systems at MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services, told SmartBrief that GIS systems can help companies improve their business strategies.

"More and more, we're seeing people using GIS themselves, either using their desktops or on the web," Felton said. "There's a lot of technology out there now that makes it easy for them to find a lot of information."

Data improving modern medicine
Healthcare firms have improved their approach to using big data to tend to patients in need of personalized care. A movement is afoot to move health firms away from reliance on subjective opinions, toward a more calculated, mathematical approach. Data quality is essential in this development, researcher Eric Schadt explained to The New York Times.

"We're trying to move medicine in the direction of climatology and physics, disciplines that are far more advanced and mature quantitatively," Schadt said.

A new approach to political campaigns
Another way big data is having a big effect: It's helping political parties get their candidates elected. According to the Corporation Service Company (CSC), data mining was a big reason Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008 and 2012. By gathering more information on the voting public and analyzing it to find key trends, Obama was able to isolate key voting demographics in swing states and win their favor.

"The Obama big data team sought out those who were already advocates and did matchmaking using what CSC calls 'affinity ratios' - linking people with the same lifestyle and life-stage details with people in their social circles to drive action," CSC director of business analytics Gary Jackson said.

Data was everywhere across the business world in June. Its outreach will likely only extend further in July and beyond.

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