'Big data' seems to be a hot topic these days for early stage businesses entering our markets. I recently saw a pitch deck slide with a fascinating example of big data in use. The slide showed an aerial photo of a Walmart parking lot with a single bullet point that read "Proprietary satellite parking lot fill rate analysis points to an interesting cadence intra-quarter and potential upside to our view." This company gathered and analyzed aerial photos of every Walmart parking lot in North America, taken every 20 minutes of every day for months. All in order to determine if Walmart's stock price would rise or fall. An enormous amount of data indeed.
Essentially, that's what big data is; a collection of data so large and complex that it is difficult to process using traditional database management tools. Big data involves gathering smaller data sets into huge databases and looking for trends that otherwise would be difficult to see. Applications include combating crime, preventing disease, predicting real-time roadway traffic trends and stock market forecasting. As businesses increasingly use technology like mobile devices, cameras, GPS and RFID, the amount of data they generate also increases. Many startups see this growth in the volume of data generated as an opportunity to leverage computing power to help businesses find insight in their information.
With recent trends, I suspect we will see more 'big data' products in our markets soon. What's your take?
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