There’s data everywhere. More and more things generate data: the things we touch, the media we consume, the cars we drive. Take something as humble as a lightbulb – a fundamental of life. In 2012, Philips Hue launched a smart bulb that can collect information on everything from your IP address, to the types of smart devices you own, and the names of the rooms in your house. Now imagine how many light bulbs there are in the world and the amount of data that would be generated if we all used even one of these smart bulbs. Once simply an electronics company, Philips suddenly has access to huge amounts of data, which could be more valuable than the products it sells.
The same is true for many car manufacturers. Companies in this space are more likely to be known in the future as data companies, rather than car manufacturers – and that’s thanks to all the information they will garner through the introduction of driverless cars and the evolution of car software. Car sensors produce about 1.3 gigabytes of data every hour. Using a little math, we can extrapolate the amount of sensor data created by cars. If approximately 60 million cars are manufactured each year, and those cars are driven an average of four hours per day, that would generate 312 million gigabytes or 108 exabytes yearly. Although these are huge volumes, it’s not the amount of data that’s interesting, but what can be learned from it.
There are thousands of other examples. Take Niantic, creators of Pokémon Go – just think of the data they hold on our movements. Whether health trackers, social networks, google searches, blogs, communities or forums, we are generating a volume and variety of data that was never conceived of before. In the world of business, the organizations we work for are increasingly defined and differentiated by their ability to compete on data. Many well-known brands are already becoming data companies on the side, driving additional insights from the huge volume of information on human behaviors they hold.
Take games developer King for example. Their games generate more than two billion rows of data daily – with volumes increasing every day.