Real-time is a big part of the hype around big data and there’s a real reason for that. We are generating more and more data and it is increasingly being integrated in performance dashboards, the advertising displayed while we browse the web or in an outdoor, and in all the small things technology helps us figure out every day – catching the bus, tracking the weather and communicating with friends.
One of the explanation of Big data revolves around the concept of the 3 V’s: Velocity, Volume and Variety – and for the purpose of this post, I’ll focus on the first one.
The velocity at which data is generated is astonishing, and in the last 2 years we’ve produced more data than all human history till then. Usually one of two things tend to happen with companies: analysis-paralysis or using just the right amount of information, while it is useful – the third one is storing all the data, but that is just dumb – and expensive!
Communications is for me the most transformed (in a positive way) area of all, and the speed at which an individual can access information or reach out to other people nowadays, has changed everything. Knowledge is now only a few searches or e-mails away, questions get answered in real-time, and decisions are made instantly. The purchase of Whatsapp by Facebook is imho a clear sign of this – soon we’ll have chat buttons instead of share buttons on websites, making interaction and engagement a real-time and more ephemerous phenomena.
This means you can speak to the right person, at the right time from anywhere – and there are a lot of real-time systems supporting the technology required to ensure this is possible. Example: Waze uses real-time crowdsourced information from its users to build real-time routes that represent the flow of traffic.
I’m a member of the generation that didn’t have cell phones and right now I expect an answer via any form of communication almost instantly, and country’s social security systems are paying the bill, but I’ll leave that to another post.
Advertising is another industry that is reinventing itself with real-time data. Think of Out of Home Media – outdoors have been an extremely speculative media, so in the age of data-driven decisions and next day performance dashboards, the GRP model just doesn’t cut it. This article by Adage reflects the need for the right data to revive this Medium.
And that’s where real-time data comes in to play again. Take the digital outdoors and the fact mobile data allows apps to know your location, and mix in processing capacity, ad exchanges and DSP’s, and you can now have your ad displayed on an outdoor where the key audience groups you want to reach walking in front of it. You can customise the message if you can tap into a CRM system to know their buying habits and even juggle multiple messages according to time of day, weather or the type of vehicle you drive to maximise performance.
This means advertisers can now reach their audiences, with a personalised message, taking in to consideration where they are, what they are doing, and using the appropriate channels to do so – it just needs to look less creepy and blatant. After all, there’s still 99.9% of digital ad spend being wasted by brands [for banners in Apr/13].
The final point is around one of the most important pieces of data for all this to happen – personal data.
All these new solutions and clever uses of data are raising a lot of ethical and regulatory questions that the market must answer as quickly as it uses any of these new tools to run its business. But where many see risks, others see opportunity.
Would you like to have a single location where you could manage all your personal information in real-time, who it’s being shared with, and how it’s being used? I certainly would – that’s another miracle of the age of real-time – and most systems should be fit for purpose.
With the increase of functionality and connection between the online world and the real world, come more risks, and more tests to the user’s trust in the current holders of their private information.
Some years ago, you only shared that information with banks, utilities providers, your employer and governmental institutions, but the roles of each of these are now blurring, and in some cases your online store or your MNO has more information about you than the government.
Real-time is enabling a whole new dimension of services that no longer have to be operation-intensive and rely almost solely on data and creativity. One of them is the management of the data itself, and organisations like the CDEC are exploring this quite actively. The Personal Data Store is a necessity and mobile wallets we’re only one of the first attempts.
If you’re going to be a part of the real-time revolution I suggest you do it now, because later is a thing of the past.
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