Have you ever noticed that while listening to music your favourite song is repeated surprisingly often? Has it occurred to you that the videos that are recommended to you on YouTube have strangely a lot in common with the videos that you have already watched? You may be surprised to see how many things are connected to the Internet and how beneficial analysing it could be. What will surprise you even more is the fact that you do not have to do anything in order to do that. It is done for you – has been and will be.
Internet of Things (IoT) is without a doubt one of the most talked about topics today, being a concept using each device that has access to the Internet and connecting them with each other or with us, their users. What has probably come to your mind is your smartphone or your Xbox, but the technology allows IoT to go a few steps further, monitoring what is inside your refrigerator or having your car analyse which route is the best one to take while you are in a hurry. It grows with any device we switch on and will increase with every device the manufacturers come up with, influencing Big Data.
Big Data which, by the way, is the second hottest technology topic, was here even before IoT was brought to life. Although the term itself is relatively new, what it refers to – gathering and analysing large amounts of information – is ages old. It is defined by four Vs: it comes in large amounts (volume), is a mixture of structured and unstructured information (variety), arrives at unprecedented speed (velocity) and can be of uncertain provenance (veracity), Big Data provides us with a great amount of data that has been stored for years and waits impatiently to be used.
You may wonder what the connection between IoT and Big Data is. Their relationship is very close as IoT clearly makes it possible for big data to grow. This fact itself is not about to turn into another technological revolution, what we need is a device to analyse the data we are left with. There are several databases that we have used so far, but it is not enough anymore. Luckily, Hadoop is here to help us.
Hadoop – which was rewarded as being the most innovative project of 2013 – is one of the software frameworks for storing and processing vast amounts of data. This Apache platform was created as a response to the World Wide Web and a growing need for a proper search engine, making it possible to analyse structured and unstructured data quickly, flexibly, reliably and at low-cost.
If you ask yourself why use Hadoop specifically? We provide the answer. The beauty of this software framework is that, unlike traditional relational database management systems, it connects many commodity computers together to work in parallel, storing and distributing unbelievably large amounts of information. Not only is it faster and cheaper than traditional analytic tools, it is also as simplified as possible, allowing users to quickly store unstructured and schemaless data.
For example, there is not only iTunes tracking that you like to listen to and GPS information helping you avoid the traffic, there are also hospitals controlling literally each and every breath of a new-born child and detecting a disease before symptoms occur. The FBI are also analysing social media in order to prevent us from a terrorist attacks. Using Hadoop for storing and analysing their data and using IoT devices for collecting it could be called a “here and now” phenomenon. The future is here – not only for the known world-wide enterprises that we mentioned above, but Big Data may also be used by small businesses.
You may wonder how it can influence your work. Access to Big Data allows companies to create a unique bond with their customers easily, to track each step they take and see its consequences, to follow the market and answer its needs. Big Data is without a doubt influencing our world and is not about to stop. What might surprise us today will be something common place tomorrow.