I’ve seen the number 4.6 billion pop up a few times lately. Any ideas? It’s the approximate number of mobile phones globally which is about 69% of the worlds population.
It’s the explosion of phones, particularly smart phones that are internet addressable, that is pushing the limits of the internet itself. It’s also these devices that are generating massive amounts of data. For more mind blowing statistics on the explosion of data all around us, have a look at a video, Taming the Torrent, developed by my partner John Sviokla to open the latest Diamond Exchange event.
Its not just phones either. Its cars, houses and just about anything with a circuit board in it too.
A year or so ago, Make Magazine published the plans for a device that connects to a power outlet and to your network and regularly generates Tweets with the outlets power consumption. You can actually build one for yourself by modifying a power consumption monitor and adding a wireless controller.
The interconnection of anything and everything, sometimes called “the internet of things,” will create brand new sets of structured and unstructured data to funnel into our decision making. The latest issue of The Economist has a special section on Smart Systems – another term for the same ideas.
While a lot of innovation is going on a the grassroots level, there are also a few very aggressive firms like HP and Cisco who are looking at this as a global opportunity.
Cisco has started a non-profit called Planetary Skin with the goal of harnessing the information generated by the billions of devices and sensors to help address the most fundamental issues like weather, water and food.
Needless to say, your job of sorting through all of the information available for decision making isn’t getting any easier.
In addition to the mounting volumes of data, we have another problem. Our customers, boards, and executives and are carrying around these little supercomputers in their pockets they can use (any maybe more frustratingly for them, their children can use) to make everyday decisions based on some surprisingly deep datasets, algorithms and analytics.
In fact, many of these apps are breaking new ground in the capture and use of new bits of information like interests, friend networks and time and frequency of communication.
What new sources of data will you have to get smart about? What kinds of devices, embedded sensors and other non-traditional information will make an impact on your company and industry?
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