Defining Big Data
Ask 10 experts to define Big Data and you’ll get three different answers. But when Future Lab asked the experts to explain how Big Data is being used in the realm of physical security, the answer is unanimous: Big Data in the realm of physical security is in its infancy.
But first, what exactly is Big Data?
“With every new technology, there is always a shakeout at the beginning,” says Wilco Van Ginkel, co-chair of the Cloud Security Alliance’s Big Data Working Group. “At this stage, we’re always asking ourselves: What is this? What does it mean? We did the same thing five years ago with the cloud. Today, we have a general consensus of what the cloud is. We are moving toward that with big data.”
At its core, Big Data is a general term for data sets that are too large or complex to analyze with traditional tools. While data and the analysis of data have always been with us in one form or another, the meaning has changed over time.
“Think about 32GB of data,” says Van Ginkel. “Fifteen years ago, that was a lot. Nowadays, you’re considered a loser if you don’t have 40 GB of data on your smartphone,” he says with a laugh. “The difference today is, the solutions that process that volume of data have changed.”
But Big Data is not solely about volume. Bob Banerjee is Senior Director of Training and Knowledge with NICE Systems. He uses online retail giant Amazon to illustrate how we utilize Big Data today.
“Get rid of the human element and get the data to self regulate.”
“Amazon is the classic example,” says Banerjee. “When Amazon started, they had a team of experts in different areas of books. When they would start selling a new book, they would have someone write a review to say: If you liked this book, you may also like these other books. So you’d have these people who were product experts, who would comb through the thousands of item on Amazon and say: If you bought this phone, you’ll probably want this charger. If you bought this Kindle, you’ll probably be interested in these Kindle covers.”
Where Big Data begins to creep in, explains Banerjee, is when there are so many thousands of books, chargers, cameras and kindles, that human beings cannot keep up with what’s available.
“So Amazon said, forget it, we’re going to get rid of the human element and get the data to self regulate,” Banerjee says. “So I buy a camera. The computer now has 10,000 purchases of that camera each week. It starts to draw patterns of what people buy along with that camera. The computer doesn’t need a human expert – it doesn’t even need to be correct. It’s a correlation. That is the beauty of Big Data.
With Big Data, you stop asking why and you let the data find a correlation and speak for itself.”
So, if Amazon is using Big Data to tell shoppers what they might like to buy, how are physical security experts utilizing Big Data?
We have looked at the progression of Big Data in physical security in an article titled Big Data in physical security.
By Rachel Sa