Big, Bigger, and Biggest

March 4
Gabriel Chua

Here we go again. Questions that were first asked when modern technology started to develop are being raised once more. In the age of Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT), people are being connected more than ever before, in more ways than one. But what exactly is Big Data and the IoT?

To put it simply, Big Data is a collection of large volumes of data with varying degrees of structure that can be mined for various analytics applications. On the other hand, the IoT is a concept that basically connects any device, that can be turned on and off, to the internet.

With that being said, is there product and/or service out there that encapsulates the very definition of these two terms?

Jason Kumar, co-founder of Terra Sol (left) explaining the capabilites of the solar-powered smart compacting BigBelly bins as Mr Steven Goh, exectuive director of Orchard Road Business Association (ORBA) (right) looks at the bin.

Indeed there is! The picture that you see above actually shows a Smart Bin. The above Smart Bin not only allows for waste disposal, but can also act as a portable Wifi hotspot. Moreover, it can send out text alerts and emails to the smart devices of cleaners to inform them know that it is time for the bins to be cleaned. With such bins in existence, it enables for a more efficient collection of waste where companies are able to monitor which areas of a certain place are more frequented than others in other to optimise trash pick up routes. Smart Bins are indeed, a prime example of how Big Data and the IoT can be fully integrated with one another in a product.

Then again, this begs the question, as I’ve previously mentioned, that has already been asked when modern technology began to make headway. “Will the security and comfort of people be affected?”

It really all depends. While no doubt an avenue for businesses to grow, there are ultimately consequences that might follow as a result of mismanaging Big Data and the IoT.

The above picture is actually of the reception lobby of the Henn Na Hotel in Japan. The lady, and her fellow female colleague standing next to her, are actually robots that can help guests with the check in process. They are able to scan the passports of guests, assist in 4 different languages that ultimately serves to ensure a smooth experience. Again, this gives the Henn Na Hotel the ability to ultimately know where the bulk of their guests are travelling from, how they felt about their stay and as a result, tailor strategies that may conform to the filter bubble of potential guests. But alas, in early 2019, as a result of ‘annoying guests’ by waking them up for no apparent reason while sleeping, and for other practical limitations, the hotel fired over 200 of its robotic employees.

So that’s the thing. When things go south, how will businesses ensure that their reputation doesn’t hit a snag as a result of a failed business approach? The hacking of data is ever more prevalent in today’s society, with the hacking of Facebook in 2018 leaving over 50 million users having their data being exposed to others. Furthermore, knowing that there are hacking attempts are made every 39 seconds, Big Data and the IoT can potentially exacerbate this ongoing problem by giving hackers even more access to potentially private and sensitive data and information.

I am of the opinion that Big Data and the IoT can work together for the common good of better business practices and approaches, only if they can be successfully managed in sync with better and updated security policies and protocols. So in this current digital age, who will be bold and daring enough to go big? Who will take it a step further and go bigger? And who in the end, will be the biggest? Only time can tell as the age of Big Data and the IoT continues to progress at a unprecedented rate. But, enough rambling. What do you guys think? Leave a comment and tell me what are your thoughts!

Signing off,

14 thoughts on “Big, Bigger, and Biggest

  1. Agreed. Big Data and IoT like it or not, are here to stay. They reduce or eliminate old business practices but create just about equal if not, more window of opportunities for businesses and people alike. That being said, I find that it may be more challenging especially for startup companies to sustain their business model if they want to ride on to the big wave of Big Data and IoT.

    Lastly, as mentioned in this article, there is a much higher demand for stronger security protocols and if possible, a robust corporate governance or self-regulation in the long run.


    1. Hmmm, I see where you’re coming from. I do feel that it’s relative more difficult for startups to ride on the Big Data and IoT wave , as you’ve mentioned, considering that they are unlikely to have the resources to leverage upon it.

      And at the risk of sounding cliche, “With great power comes great responsibility.” With technology, it also makes it relatively simpler for hackers and other ill-willed individuals to obtain and hack for sensitive information. And that’s why I do agree with you, that perhaps stronger Corporate Governance and Regulation is required not in the future, but in the here and now. And it is also a must for this to be updated with the times!


  2. I think that it would be possible over time because of how advance technology becomes, at the same time its interesting to know of such services that are available now, bringing more convenience. Looking forward to more of your content!


  3. A really interesting read, didn’t really know much about big data and IoT before this, so thanks for sharing! It is intriguing to see how the integration of big data and IoT has helped to make the way we do things easier and more efficient, and even enhancing our experiences. There really is huge potential for further development and innovation when it comes to big data and IoT! (and like what you mentioned, with adequate measures taken to prevent the leak and abuse of these data)


    1. Glad I could share! I do agree though. When things get better, the potential for things to go wrong will get higher as well. So its about moving with the times I guess. Constant upgrading of privacy and security protocols as technology advances in order to ensure maximum efficiency and efficacy.


  4. I agree that Big data and IoT work hand in hand together to help improve efficiency for businesses. However there are definitely security concerns especially with the risk of being hacked into and has always been seen as a constant challenge that they face as the amount of data generated is increasing exponentially. Artificial Intelligence is also something that I have mixed feelings towards to. At times they do speed up processes, achieving efficiency, but hiccups do occur with these machines and can sometimes cause trouble instead! But like you said, with better software updates, security policies and protocol, things might just get better!


    1. I agree. It’s really funny how sometimes, when things seem to be designed for the better, things can always go south if something unexpected were to happen out of no where.

      And it’s true what you mentioned about AI as well. It can be really unpredictable at times and it’s really up to businesses to update and maintain their cyber security!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree with you, big data and the IoT may indeed help us. I also like the 2 examples you used, about how smart bins can save the trouble of periodic checking to see if it is full. I would say the IoT would have a limited impact on the service sector as seen in the Henn Na Hotel. Especially so for sectors like Healthcare where nurses will always be required to tend to the need of patients and also in the food industry where certain dishes will not be as well prepared if it was prepared by a robot or machinery process. The Human touch is something that the IoT and Big Data will not be able to replace. Nonethless, I am sure Big Data and IoT will go a long way in making life much easier and smoother for us, so the benefits would definitely outweigh the limitations.


    1. Hmmm, some interesting insight you have there! I do agree after thinking things over once again. It’s true that the IoT can’t replace certain human elements that are essential for certain businesses, depending on the type of industry. It’s now, like a case of whether the IoT will be in line with what any particular industry is doing to see if it should be adopted into the business practices of firms.


  6. Absolutely agree. Big Data and IoT, as with any information system, will always remain subject to security risks. Unfortunately, the curbing of security threats must be done consistently as hackers’ techniques continue to evolve as well. Staying abreast such changes can be costly and will perpetually remain a necessary expenditure when employing Big Data and IoT. In the end, from a business perspective, decisions must remain a cost-benefit evaluation and should only be adopted if the benefits outweigh the costs and potential costs that will arise.


    1. Mmm. At the end of the day, if you stand to gain more than what you would stand to lose, you should step up efforts especially in this day and age whereby other can leverage upon the same tools and technology as you to “attack” your business and content.

      And I agree with you as well. It can potentially be very risky so you have to be certain in your actions and like you said, perform a cost-benefit evaluation to analyse your situation before deciding on what to do next.


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