The first Industrial Revolution showed the world how much machines could accomplish. What GE calls the “Next Industrial Revolution” is now showing how much machines can accomplish when they communicate with each other. And just as steam — and later electricity — powered the first industrial revolution, Big Data is powering the second. Machine-to-machine communication (M2M) gave birth to the age of Big Data and advances in big data are expanding our sense of what the Internet of Things can accomplish in the coming years.
It’s too soon to know whether or not the promise of Big Data is being overstated. Google Trends shows that the number of news references for “Big Data” has increased ten-fold since 2011. Comparing that with the Gartner Hype Cycle suggests that the concept may be nearing its “Peak of Inflated Expectations” and will soon be sliding into a “Trough of Disillusionment” [see accompanying graph]. Still, if the Hype Cycle is an accurate forecast of the future, it seems reasonable to expect great things from Big Data once it reaches the “Plateau of Productivity.”
The Four V’s of Big Data
According to Wayne Balta, vice president of corporate environmental affairs and product safety at IBM, Big Data is defined by the four V’s: volume, velocity, variety and veracity.