Why companies should be investing in big data now

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Adoption of IoT is surging as the scale and importance of IoT projects grow and barriers to entry are breaking down. Integral to IoT is big data, and in this article, we aim to explain its importance and why businesses who haven’t invested in it should now.

What is big data?

Although the term big data can be traced back almost 70 years, its current context is attributed to circa 2001 when Doug Laney articulated what is viewed as the characteristics of big data as the three V’s, i.e. variety, volumes and velocity.

Whilst the definition continues to evolve – incorporating additional V’s such as veracity and value and often plagiarised to suit vested interests – we find the following definition incorporating the key characteristics of big data useful:

Big data refers to the large, diverse sets of information that grow at ever-increasing rates. It encompasses the volume of information, the velocity or speed at which it is created and collected, and the variety or scope of the data points being covered.

Why are businesses investing in big data?

So why is big data so important? Why are some companies including data valuations on their balance sheet?

Big data is considered valuable, as with all this data comes information and with that information comes the potential for innovation. Simply, it’s about turning information into insight and insight into action.

Importantly, the underlying principles to this are:

  • the more data you have about something – i.e. situation, process, consumer behaviour, etc. – the more you can gain increased insights and make future predictions.
  • the more data you have at your disposal the more reliable predictions are likely to be.

In practice, big data can be transformed into business intelligence quicker than ever before using technology such as AI, ML, digital twinning scenarios and anomaly detection, to name just a few.

This in turn allows businesses to deliver unparalleled breakthroughs in agility, efficiency and growth compared to their non-Big Data enabled competitors.

At C-suite level, it provides opportunities to identify, enable and quickly bring about business transformation, which can dramatically distance a business from its competitors.

And many businesses have now integrated big data into core business systems to improve processes, customer experience and beyond.

In summary, big data is about converting connected devices into human value. Therefore, it provides the capability to change business processes/workflows, decision frameworks, and/or develop new business models and growth paths for the business. All this in a fraction of the time it took before.

Whilst many early adopters saw the greatest value through the drive for efficiencies, businesses are now integrating big data into core business processes, so the right information, insights and actions are delivered to the right people at the right time.

Examples include:

  • Predictive maintenance – whilst IoT sensors can identify and alert potential equipment malfunction in advance, anomaly detection utilising big data can identify subtle anomalies buried far deeper than human detection.
  • Customer Experience – from big data, a clearer view of customer experience is now possible and can provide brand protection or be incorporated into core business processes.
  • Digital twinning – in Healthcare, by continuously capturing vital operational metrics, hospitals can identify the busiest areas and time of day and simulate solutions using digital twinning to resolve congestion.

So why invest now?

Firstly, barriers to entry have diminished due to:

  • cheaper data storage
  • IoT device cost reduction and proliferation in type
  • greater connectivity options
  • cost- effective applications for different needs
  • ever improving cloud IoT platforms to easily develop and manage new solutions
  • a growing range of off-the shelf IoT solutions that don’t need huge amounts of technical expertise to implement.

Secondly, data has now become the currency that many businesses are now based upon (explaining why some are now including it within their balance sheet).

Analysing that data is how businesses move their goods and services forward. If a business can interpret the information flowing into it from the IoT ecosystem, it ensures the business is ready to take full advantage of this new data source.

Maximising potential relies on the amount of data at a business’s disposal, to produce reliable insights and predictions. With this in mind, business should begin collecting data now, particularly in core business areas, where there is the largest number of issues and the highest outage costs.

A prime example of why historic data is important relates to early anomaly detection established to help businesses determine when something changes in their normal business patterns.

When done well, it can give a company the insight it needs to investigate the root cause of the change, make decisions, and take actions that can save money (or prevent losing it) and potentially create new business opportunities.

As much as algorithms take considerable definitions, their reliability to determine with a high degree of confidence what an anomaly is, relies on the availability of historical data to identify if anomalies are real or not.

Taking the initial step

For businesses that are yet to adopt IoT, this may appear daunting. But it doesn’t have to be. IoT is a journey with many benefits to be realised every step of the way.
That said, it’s also true that the more sophisticated your strategy and implementations are, the more you stand to gain.


It is easy to understand how Big Data and the Internet of Things, combined with Artificial Intelligence, is only starting to show a small amount of their future impact. Their impact is only going to get bigger and businesses that don’t act soon are likely to be left behind.

To shorten the time business can benefit from the integration of this technology, business should be seriously considering accumulating big data now.

About notiria

notiria are specialists in IoT deployment, the enabler for Big Data.