Seventhman Blog

Can Big Data Save Our Planet?

"big data save planet"March 23rd marked another historic event across the globe as countries participated in Earth Hour 2013.  What has this to do with my post today?  I am a big data enthusiast and my eyes are set on how big data will be the biggest driver in sustainability to date – that is, if security is combined with clean technology.  Imagine the vast potential on how big data can provide a solution that doesn’t only power businesses, the people.. but the entire world.  Can big data save the planet?  Definitely.  There must be a middle ground somewhere where security won’t be compromised in the name of cost.  We are getting closer each day in managing large streams of data in a safer environment that runs on projects utilizing a clean energy ecosystem.  It’s a tough challenge to take, but the initiative is growing.

Big Data Saving Lives

It’s not news that big data saves time and money.  But, what seemed like a hype can actually save lives.  Imagine a huge city that uses high volumes of information that help reduce fatalities on roads.  This is already happening in Edmonton.  In times of emergencies, people have been using social networks to reach out.. or unite for peace in major uprisings.  Thanks to big data, real-time data is more flexible, allowing a two-way street for both businesses and consumers.  Medical researchers have been using information that helped them aggregate data faster so they can come up with treatments against deadly diseases.  Big data is also harnessed in programs dedicated to collecting data about the environment for scientists around the world to help in economic and political decisions that will reduce negative effects against the planet’s rich bio-diversity… and the list goes on.

Why the Long Wait?

According to this recent survey on Big Data and the Public Sector, real-time big data can save the government at least ten percent each year.  Law enforcement can gain a lot when tools will help them develop models that can predict where crimes are likely to occur.  Insights from volumes of data can help connect the government with the public – making sure that its citizens voices are heard so that key services can be improved, which comes with a higher satisfaction rate.  But just like the vagueness of the term ‘cloud’ – big data is also wrapped in controversies where people are primarily concerned about their data falling into the wrong hands.  It’s already annoying how user data is used to target ads based on their online behavior.  No one wants to feel this vulnerable when we hear of security leaks and hacks every week.

Big Data in a Changing World

You don’t have to be big to make a huge difference in the world.  While ROI is still a major concern for those who are investing in big data solutions, the mere fact that it can save lives should make sense as to why it should be adapted.  Organizations should rethink how they perceive the relationship between business and IT.  The Web runs on data and for us to know what the world needs in terms of using data for the common good – one has to integrate efforts across political, technological and cultural perspectives in a transparent manner.  It’s not just about finding developers who can build the backbone for this data that matters, nor relying on data scientists to analyze data itself.. but, it’s all about finding new ways in exploring data that have never been tried before.

It’s a long way.. and we’re surely getting there!