The IOT / Big Data and Data Scientists

In recent years, two of the biggest topics of discussion when it comes to technology have been Big Data and the IOT (Internet of Things).On the off chance that all the hype has passed you by, the IOT is a rapidly expanding network of sensors that are internet connected and attached to a vast range of “things.” The internet connection can be either wireless or wired and the potential measurements that could be taken by the sensors are nearly endless. The “things” involved can be virtually any object, whether living or inanimate, to with a sensor can be attached or embedded. Anyone with a smartphone can, in effect, become a living IOT sensor and enables many routine, daily activities to be tracked and analyzed.

The Internet of Things and Big Data clearly have a very intimate connection because these billions of “things” that are internet connected will generate data in unimaginable amounts. The generation of this data alone however, won’t bring about industrial revolution, alter day to day living, or create earth saving technology. Big Data is characterized by what are known as the “four V’s”. They are: volume, variety, velocity, veracity. Putting it simply, the structured and unstructured data (variety) arrives in vast amounts (volume) at high speeds (velocity) and is of uncertain value (veracity). Data processing systems such as Apache’s Hadoop are helpful, but in some cases the human touch is needed. That is where data scientists enter the picture.

It has been speculated that the introduction of artificial intelligence would mean the end of the relatively new profession of data scientist, but that is far from being the case. Machines are being programmed to learn, but the applications of artificial intelligence are limited for the present. One example of the need for data scientists in the IOT, Big Data equation are autonomous vehicles. These vehicles are loaded with sensors that continuously transmit data that allows the vehicle to respond to its surroundings. Analyzing that data and programming the vehicle’s response to certain conditions requires a human with real driving experience.

With the sheer number of “things” that could potentially join the IOT, there will be much less actionable data involved than you might imagine. With data analysts, data scientists, and processing systems such as Hadoop however, the internet of things and Big Data have the potential to change society as we know it.

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