Data Economy unfolding - Part IV: The galaxy of data clusters

The Metcalfe's law applied to the value of a network, that grows exponentially as the number of nodes grow. For data the value growth shows a similar increase depending on the correlations among data - correlations are the equivalent of links in a telecommunications network

The value of data goes beyond the content: it relates to the volume of data, the variety and the velocity of variation. These parameters relates to the possibility of extracting users behaviour which is a fundamental component of data value.

GAFA have acquired, and keep acquiring in an ever growing spiral, more and more data. In the cyberspace, bigs tend to become even bigger as predicted by the Metcalfe's law.

Having a huge volume of data, however, it is just part of the story. The important thing, in terms of value, is information and information is connected to data through the relevance to the user of the data. Hence, in addition to volume you need to understand how data are being used (accessed, contextualised...). 

This brings to the usual 3V formula for Big Data: volume, variety (different kind of data thus enabling correlation) and velocity (change over time).

The GAFA have all it takes to leverage on data to create information, hence value. 

Google monitors what I am searching, what terminal I am using from the search, when I am searching, from what geographical location, what kind of link I select, if I come back to the list to choose another one, what search I am doing next, what ads I am clicking. They have the possibility to go back in time, even years back, to trace my searches and derive trends (how I change over time), what other people in the surrounding (space or/and time) are searching.

Apple knows what programs, what apps and song I am using, and how I am using them. They monitor my interaction with their shops (on line and physical stores), through the sharing of music playlist they connect me to my friends; the new apps monitoring my level of exercise and even pulse (although these data are anonymous) can provide further data... 

Facebook can monitor where I am, who my friends are, the level of interaction I have with them, where I am, the photos I am sharing provide even more data, my posts tell a lot about my feelings; possibly Facebook is the one, among the GAFA that knows more about me...

Amazon knows me as a customer, and if I am a Kindle customer, which I am, by reading the books I am providing indication of what my taste are, even more if I share comments, reviews on the books (highlighting a paragraph creates a clear indication of a specific interest). My spending trends are clearly identifiable, in my case Amazon can also track my movements as I ask for delivery of goods in several hotels I am staying...

However, the GAFA are but a fragment of (big) spots in the data galaxy that is fuelling the Data Economy. Telecommunications companies records of calls is an obvious example of Big Data clusters. The records can show where you where, who you called, for how long. And it is easy to find patterns and understand the community around you. Water utilities and Power utilities also have data showing your usage behaviour and that can be a starting point to generate information. So do transportation companies, and municipalities, Expedia and TripAdvisor, Uber and Airbnb....

The progressive adoption of open data framework makes the leveraging on these data possible, fuelling the data economy.

Author - Roberto Saracco

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