Big data, small data, privacy and real value

Jouko Ahvenainen/Grow VC Group
24 Jun 2013

Big data has been hot for some time, and data privacy has recently become really hot. Everyone must have a big data plan and projects.

But how many organizations and people really know how to improve their business with big data, what they want and how they can respect their client’s and user’s privacy?

We also see many 'small data' applications that produce things based on a few data points such as current location, current speed or latest status update. A problem of data analytics is that it gives a lot of wonderful visions, but it requires a lot of work, planning and a long-term systematic approach to get real results.

Telecom operators have for years developed exciting plans, how to utilize all their data and really turn data to revenue. But in real life we have increasingly seen simple mobile applications that maybe track a few data points and then produce something useful or fun to their users.

For carriers privacy is extremely important. Most countries have very strict policies and laws governing how telecom data can be used. And the topical issues - how security agencies want to use data - just make the situation more complex. People share a lot of data in Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter and many other services. They are ready to share data in retail, airline, hotels and many other loyalty programs.

People expect to get something back. Sometimes, it is loyalty points or better prices, but it can be also a kind of social benefit; you might get noticed by other people or receive better security. One question is also, which one is worse for human beings, that someone knows too much about you or everyone ignores you. It can also be that many people haven’t realized, how data can be utilized and is collected until now. And now they want to understand more.

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