It’s February 2013 and it looks like we’re mere months from mobile Web access surpassing PC access to the Internet worldwide. So, as our mobile devices become the hubs of our work and professional lives, how will the union of big data and mobile devices change the way we work and play?
Data analytics in your hand, in real time?
Touch screens provide an intuitive interface for business intelligence (BI) dashboards and other portals to enterprise big data and the vast amounts of data generated by smartphones and tablets are themselves rich sources of big data.
Business intelligence is all about data-driven decision making and the most useful BI implementations give both executives and users at all levels of an organization near real-time access to data organized, aggregated, and presented in meaningful visualizations.
Barriers to mobile adoption in the enterprise?
Given this need for anytime/anywhere access to BI, analytics, and big data in general, mobile has always been an obvious use case. Yet it has largely been stymied by a few key barriers:
- Local processing power and storage
- Available apps and web interfaces
Recently have cloud, native app, and Web technologies converged to make great user experiences for dashboards and scorecards available on many mobile platforms. But the last thing any company needs is to have an executive’s tablet picked up in the local coffee shop with strategic support data readily available or sensitive forecasts sitting in a widget. Luckily, improved encryption for mobile access to major BI tools have helped address security concerns.
Early signs of big data trends ahead
The take-home message here? Big data is coming to mobile devices in a big way in 2013.
Of course, the reverse is also true. Big data is coming from mobile devices in a big way as well. Whether doctors are enter patient notes in massive health informatics systems, consumers are checking in with various social location apps, or inventory shipments are being tracked in real time by organizations via drivers’ smartphones, the proliferation of mobile devices is adding countess terabytes to the data streams that businesses can leverage for decision support.
Big data approaches that connect the dots in disparate data has great potential to improve our work and home-life experiences. Google Now is an example of big data personalizing the sorts of information being surfaced for us on the Web as, for example, traffic information is displayed based on the location of the user’s next scheduled appointment.
Swiftkey, an alternative Android keyboard, scans a user’s Facebook and Twitter feeds, their RSS subscriptions, and their emails to build a better predictive text engine, combining these bits of information with real-time usage data and message context to radically improve typing capabilities.
So whether mobile devices are accessing, generating, or aggregating data, to paraphrase some great candy marketing, big data and mobile are two great technologies that go great together.