What do drugs tailored to a person’s genetics, airplane assembly line simulations, and smart devices that monitor tree cutting in remote forests have in common? More than you think, says Emily Jackson in her Ottawa Citizen article titled, “Move over oil, Big Data is the new fuel to run the world.”
According to the article, all three technologies are among the first to get funding from British Columbia’s digital technology supercluster, one of five innovation hubs the federal government is investing $950 million in over five years in hopes of spawning world-leading technologies and companies.
Innovation, Science and Economic Development granted the BC hub $153 million, with 29 members pitching in another $200 million. An additional 500 organizations including non-profits have signed on as associates without making a financial commitment. It’s mission? Unlock the potential of the 99.2% of data that is collected and never analyzed.
Most certainly the driver behind technology advancement and innovations in digitization is the ability to collect, analyze, and relate large amounts of data in tangible, manageable, and relatable ways, and some experts are calling this ability or “big data” the new currency fuelling the global economy now and over the next decade. Just about everything we touch collects or produces information, but what good is it floating about in random sequence? How limited is a data collector that can not see how one set of information relates to another?
That is just what the Western Canadian hub is trying to find out and change.
“Just like oil coming out of the ground is not a very useful resource, data that’s swirling around in big pools is not a very useful resource,” Sue Paish, chief executive of the digital technology supercluster, said in the article. “But if you can actually extract the data that you need, analyze it, refine it, leverage it, deploy it, monetize it, it becomes an incredibly powerful part of society.”
Big data—the field that treats of ways to extract, analyze, and relate data—is set to revolutionize the business world. As technology evolves, so too does the drive to apply and relate it to different ways that leverage and expand a company’s operational capacity and bottom line. ■