Big data – In search of data gold
The process of digitalisation is resulting in a glut of data that can provide the worlds of science and business with new information. Retail companies are already using big data for the purposes of personalised customer communication, staff planning and the avoidance of advertising waste coverage. But there are challenges involved too – not only in terms of technology but also with regard to data protection.
We generate vast volumes of information every day when we use Twitter and Facebook, e-mails and videos, smartphones and search engines. Internet users around the world enter two million search terms into Google every second, upload 72 hours of video footage to YouTube every minute and add 120 million posts, comments and pictures to Facebook every month. According to estimates made by the Research and Documentation Services of the German Bundestag, more than two sextillion bytes of data were stored around the world in 2013. And this data continues to increase every day, with experts forecasting that the global volume of data will double every two years.
For some time now, big data has been a field of activity for more than just computer scientists and mathematicians – it has evolved into an innovation topic for users in the fields of science and business. According to a guideline published by the IT industry association BITKOM in 2012, data is becoming a key fourth production factor for businesses, alongside capital, manpower and commodities.