Big Data's Big Impact Across Industries

I’m not sure what prompted the deluge of big data stories this week and last, but it looked as if someone from every major industry was looking at the impact of being able to glean data from multiple data sources, structured and unstructured, from health care to agriculture and more. As Werner Vogels, Amazon’s chief technology officer, said in last week’s BBC article on retailing: “You can never have too much data. Bigger is definitely better. The more data you can collect the finer-grained the results can be.”

Here’s the roundup:

Agriculture. If you really want an indication of how agriculture is changing, look no further than the fact that The Economist’s data editor, Kenneth Cukier, addressed the Livestock, Forage and Grain Forum in Indianapolis this week. Cukier is also the author of Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think.

One of a subsequent panel of experts in both agriculture and big data said in a report in The Farmer’s Exchange, “Today, we’re at the convergence of those innovations—biotechnology, the ability to remote monitor and sensor, and now Big Data—which puts an augmented reality at our disposal. … We need the tools and technology that computerization has brought to agriculture to be able to profitably drive production and marketing decisions, with the kinds of acres we’re farming.” Cukier also cited the example of farmers being able to collect data in real time about how farm machinery is working, and when it might need to be services.

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