When you first lay your eyes on Monet’s Water Lilies at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, you are standing maybe 20 feet away. The painting is huge, over 6 feet tall and almost 42 feet wide. The scene is serene – water lilies floating on a pond with no beginning and no end. But it’s not until you walk right up to the painting that the true brilliance of the artist becomes evident. Up close you can’t see anything but blobs of color that don’t seem to form anything. Monet had the vision and ability to form those blobs into something BIGGER. A bigger picture. Step back and the picture becomes clear. Monet could do this himself and now we can too (of sorts) with Big Data.
We’ve been hearing a lot lately about Big Data. Until recently I thought Big Data was a negative reference like “Big Brother” or “Big Government”. Big Data is the lens through which the collection of massive amounts of data can be seen and leveraged. In the banking realm it can be used to help with fraud detection, predicting consumer patterns, forecasting, marketing and more. Of course there are privacy concerns which will continue to evolve. It is our challenge to find the line between Big Data and Big Brother. And there might be implications for companies and financial institutions who don’t have the means to pay for this kind of research.
If you are interested in learning more about this over used term, you can listen to this AUDIO podcast recorded at the State of the Net Conference when a panel discussion attempted to define the term. What does Big Data mean to you?