Alex Yoder recently wrote a great CNET article that looks at the ways Big Data is transforming business in the information age. The Webtrends CEO compares data to gold and oil -- assets with “no intrinsic value” until they are mined, refined and transformed into usable forms by experts. Quoting from the post:
Gold requires mining and processing before it finds its way into our jewelry, electronics, and even the Fort Knox
vault. Oil requires extraction and refinement before it becomes the gasoline that fuels our vehicles. Likewise, data requires collection, mining and, finally, analysis before we can realize its true value for businesses, governments, and individuals alike.
With all the talk about Big Data these days, it may be tempting to think that all businesses need to succeed is an ocean of information. But data is only half of the equation. Companies looking to profit from distributed computing must also invest in the human expertise needed to turn raw data into actionable insights. Yoder calls this human component big science:
The big science of processing and analyzing this data, through human expertise and machine intelligence, will empower marketers to identify and segment their customers, tailor and target the most relevant content to them, and deliver these experiences in real time across a range of digital channels and devices.
This concept of “big science” is relevant to the work Ooyala is doing with online video and Internet TV. Our video solutions leverage the power of real-time analytics and Big Data computing to help content publishers, brands and advertisers understand what viewers want to watch, when they want to watch it, and what device they want to watch it on.
Video is an incredibly data intensive media. Ooyala’s Big Data Architecture processes immense amounts of information 24/7. We use Storm, Hadoop and Cassandra to help our customers understand more about how people interact with their videos.
Beyond our core video analytics technologies, Ooyala has also invested in developing the human capital needed to “refine” this video data into usable, actionable information. We have experts who focus on increasing viewer engagement and online video monetization by personalizing content. I believe that personalized media, powered by big data, will deliver tremendous value for viewers, video publishers, marketers and advertisers, and so does Yoder:
“Getting the right message to the right customer at the right time is the promise of relevant, real-time marketing. Big science, not big data, will bring this to life."
The big idea behind big data is that more actionable information yields decisions that maximize engagement and increase profit. Useful data gives you more of what you want, and less of what you don’t.
Forward-thinking organizations that incorporate distributed computing into their operations and cultivate the human brains needed to turn information into actionable insights will find more opportunities to profit. The businesses that succeed with Big Data understand that it takes smart people to build smart solutions and turn unrefined information into gold.