Real World Applications of Big Data -Big Win or Big Mess?
Miguel Alcocer

Maybe I am of an “old school” and good old fashioned analytics over a well designed data warehouse could achieve pretty much the same results in most of the cases you present as big data solutions. Nothing there really made me sit up and take notice, I just thought that it was smart use of some BI tools on the market today. I also think there is a tendency to suggest that lots of data is the same as big data.

For me big data comes to the fore when you are able to establish connections, between seemingly unrelated events, by analysis of multiple data sources, structured and unstructured, albeit large volumes of said data.

For example, in a recent Asian Scientist magazine they talk about predicting ambulance demand based on the weather forecasts, or using social media posts of overflowing gutters to predict malaria outbreaks. Once explained these connections make absolute sense, but it took serious computing power to do the analysis against the data available, and arrive at the connections. The smarts are in how the allow the analytics to do their job, without being constrained by current structured thinking.

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