Data, on the move…

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We know it all, data is the new oil and what makes the world go round. We express the amount of  data in Bytes, and the prefix has gone up until Terra if we talk disk space in households and Peta in many companies. To put it in perspective: Terra is a 1 with 12 zero’s, Peta with 15.

In 2020 the world will hold over 20 Zeta, that’s 21 zero’s. 15% of that data will be in the structured form: meaning databases. Your bank details are in this categories,  patient records in healthcare, policies in your insurance company. All that ‘enterprise’ data is structured.
The rest of the data (85%) is unstructured. Your undoubtedly interesting Facebook posts, your ever so sharp tweets and your own YouTube channel. Even your spreadsheet, although it might look very structured, is as unstructured as it will get…

In general you might say that the structured data holds more value than unstructured. I mean to say that if your undoubtedly interesting posts on Facebook get lost (God forbid!)  you might not be as deeply in panic than if your bank accounts details went missing. Well, perhaps the FIFA officials now in custody have different opinions, but in general…

The structured enterprise data is typically held in the data centres. Nicely and safely tucked away behind firewalls, and hopefully well protected. From an IT architectural point of view it is centralised. It is very, if not thé most, important asset for the company. Large enterprises are forbidden (regulations) or reluctant to store that data in clouds. Would you trust your crown jewels to be save in any other place that your own designed and guarded vault?

Therefore that data has, if you like, a certain “gravity”. Apart from the regulations, It is not likely to move for it will be too big or too costly. It is very well possible to attract more data for all kind of real-time in-line analytics activities that brings new opportunities to enterprises.

Or not?

The enterprise data is of course of more value than the unstructured data what is very frequently dubbed as being social media data, but only until a certain extend. If companies mining all the social media, they can get a very deep insight on your life and (mis)use that for their and perhaps also your own benefit. Insurance companies will scan their customer base for all kind of extreme sport activities so that they can offer a more suitable (and probably more expensive) insurance policy. The unstructured data is not in one single behind the firewalls of one specific enterprise.

There is also another interesting movement going on. Samsung announced the 128GB memory Smart phones. If you are meeting with 8 colleagues, you have 1 Terabyte on a few square meters. Soon that will be even bigger and competing with the amount of storage of enterprises data centres.
Also the processing power of the smart phone are impressive as well. You can secure Smart phones as tight as you want. Those three factors makes way to store data (structured as well as unstructured) onto mobile devices at scale.

Why do we need to have our bank store OUR data? Is the data that the banks stores of OUR activities –legally– yours or is it the bank’s? Especially if the bank is using it –solely– for it’s own gains. There are discussions that you will be the owner of your data and that you authorise other entities (bank, government, friends) for a limited amount of time to access your data.

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Point is, you have to store and protect it. But with the growing amount of storage space on your Smart phone and with authentication techniques like Apple’s trusted TouchID there are not so many obstacles any more. (It seems that your heartbeat has more unique points than a fingerprint to authenticate you so why not use wearable devices to authenticate you?)
What will happen with the gravity of the data at the enterprises? Will it remain there, or not? If not, those banks and insurance companies might find themselves in a rather difficult situation. If they only may use it shortly and can’t do anything else with it, what will be their added value? If the data resides on the TB’s of very secured phones with impressive calculation power why can’t those phones do what banks do? If you need to calculate your risk on certain stocks and need massive compute power, let the phones team up for that job. If you have 20 or so in a room you have more compute power than National Supercomputers had some odd years ago…

So if you were to place a bet, would the majority of data in, let’s say, 5 years time still be in the data centres or will it be in on ‘the edges’ of the IT infrastructure, meaning your Mobile device?

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