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3 Ways IoT Revolutionizes Big Data

Big data and IoT (internet of things) are relatively two sides of the same coin. On one hand, big data helps businesses make informed decisions by leveraging the vast amounts of consumer data at their fingertips. On the other hand, the IoT provides a means for exponentially more data to be generated—powering an ever-growing pool of information.

Whereas big data may have previously been limited to metrics related to search preferences, site visits, social media interests and engagement patterns, the Internet of Things takes traditionally non-connected appliances and devices and turns them into tools of information generation. What this means for data-driven organizations, is that there is more information then ever before that can be used to inform decisions and drive action. With this influx of data generation comes a variety of changes that stand to revolutionize how we use big data, both for better, and for worse.

Control

The combination of IoT and Big Data will enable a higher degree of control over processes, as previously non-connected hardware begins to network with systems, generating data that helps improve efficiency and productivity. This is particularly relevant to those in the agricultural and manufacturing industries as heavy machinery can now provide sensor data on anything from engine performance, to production stages, allowing workers to quickly identify where their focus is most needed. IoT and Big Data’s impact doesn’t end with production however, it continues to overlap into marketing efforts as well.

Insight 

With devices like Amazon Echo and Google Smart Speaker providing increased insight into consumer trends as well as critical points in their decision-making process, businesses can specify the best time to reach out to an individual with promotions or incentives. Ad relevance and accuracy will be drastically improved as organizations learn to better leverage the information being generated through wearables, smart assistants, and smart-home devices. A great example of this would be location specific ads (which phones already have begun to delve into), with a smartwatch, an individual’s location could serve as a trigger for proximity-based advertisements from local businesses.

In theory, an individual’s entire decision-making process can be tracked start to finish. An ad is delivered to you via your mobile phone. You then make an inquiry at home through your smart-speaker, which you follow up with a trip to the store, tracked through your wearable device or mobile phone. Or better yet, you make the purchase straight from home through one of your many connected devices. This means ad effectiveness can be measured with alarming accuracy, while using the data gained during this process to improve future customer interactions.

Privacy

With this larger capacity for insight, comes a whole new set of ethical dilemmas. The degree to which IoT will allow organizations to peer into consumer lives can be considered intrusive, and it becomes increasingly difficult to determine where the line should be drawn in the pursuit of serving customers. We run the risk of entering into the Jurassic Park Dilemma: becoming “so preoccupied with whether or not we could, we didn’t stop to think if we should”. The risk for hackers or security breaches become more threatening when anything from traffic lights to washing machines become internet connected machines.

Final Thoughts

We live in exciting times. There is hardly a facet of every day life that remains untouched by rapid advances in technology. Connected apparel, appliances, even digital tattoos now provide a means for us to interact with the online world in ways previously unheard of. However, it also provides new ways for the online world to interact with us, generating data that can be used to both improve our work and personal lives, as well as invade our privacy. As the web-slinger loves saying, “With great power, comes great responsibility”, and as we progress down this path of universal connectivity we need to put thought towards what is useful, and what is intrusive. It helps to remember that technology is neither inherently good nor evil, it is how it is used that determines its morality.

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