There is a major debate taking place in the realm of the Internet of Things (IoT), the network of physical objects that contain special sensors and software that allow for data collection. This includes everything from the engine that powers a plane to the lamp on your bedside table. With the IoT comes both big and small data, the collection of various datasets produced by all types of objects. These data sets are the cause of much of the debates taking place; there are many that believe that big data will be the future, others argue small data is what will revolutionize things.
The Deal With Big Data
Big data is, just as it sounds, a much larger collection of data, far surpassing terabyte data. It is so big in fact, that a majority of it gets ignored by the company collecting it. This is especially true when it comes to small and medium-sized business who, according to Forrester Research, analyze just 12% of the big data that is getting collected. While some companies, particularly larger, Fortune 500 Companies, may be able to benefit from the larger amounts of data, smaller companies are simply wasting money and resources on more data than they need.
Why Small Data is the Answer
Small data is, of course, smaller than its big data counterpart, never getting beyond terabytes in size, and therefore not needing to be stored in the cloud. Also unlike big data, small data is generated by humans rather than machines, this is part of the reason why it is “small” data; humans do not work as fast as machines, especially when it comes to computing complicated algorithms for specific data sets.
Another factor that makes small data better than big data is the fact that small data is everywhere. People personally create massive amounts of small data through the social channels that they turn to for everything from searching to browsing. This makes small data much more user-oriented; it allows companies to focus on consumer needs and desires, helping them to create products and services that sell much better. This consumer focus adds to the level of the return on investment that is generated by small data collection making it, in other words, a more cost-effective option.
Data does not have to be complicated in order to help a company and the simplicity of small data just adds to the many benefits it already offers. In a world where everyone believes that bigger is always better, it is time to step back and get a different perspective. While big data may be beneficial in some cases, for most, it would prove more of a waste than anything else. Half of the data collected would end up unchecked, leading to a waste of money, time, and resources. So, instead of going big, why not just go small? You will be surprised at what an impact small data can have on how things are done in your organization.