Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year Musings : "small data"- Is it the next BIG thing?

Every Yin has a Yang, Destruction has creation, BIG DATA should have small data, right?

 Lol, leaving metaphysics aside there indeed is "small data" and it could very well indeed be on the way to being the next BIG thing (am I stretching the pun too far?)

Researchers at Cornell NYC Tech describe it as "Small data are derived from our individual digital traces. We generate these data because most of us mediate or at least accompany our lives with mobile technologies." and have already figured out some uses for it esp. in the medical realm. They also talk about the need of this "trail of breadcrumbs" to be shared back with the users who create them rather than it being the preserve of the service providers only.

Think of a patient suffering from a debilitating disease who starts a new medication. An app based on the small data generated by his/her cellphone usage can detect that s/he is up and about at 7 am now instead of 10 am and notify the patient as well as the doctor about efficacy of the medication.Cool indeed.

Relevance to say a Printer/copier company? I would think that the clicks from meters on the printers which flow back to the company could be considered "small data" - bread crumbs generated during the process of usage of the printer. Right now they are primarily used to determine billing and replenishment of supplies etc. by the company. Stored up history of meter data could be viewed as "Big Data" - available to be mined for trends etc.

But could the "small data" itself be wrapped up and provided back to the customer as a monetized service? Copiers/printers proactively telling the users - " You are going to exceed your color print limit on this printer, better pick printer XYZ to minimize your monthly bill". I would think. yes. But then I may be getting ahead of myself. Lol, that's why I call these "musings".

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