Eight predictions about the future of big data

A businessman is consulting a crystal ball to foretell the future.

Real-time data, data from connected everything, actionable vs. big… where is all this big data heading, and what should marketers be aware of this year?

Nothing has changed the advertising landscape as much as the rise of ad tech and big data. Massive advances in technology have allowed us to target consumers with extreme precision in near real time.

This year’s key technology events, such as CES and South by Southwest, showcased a potential future of virtual reality, connected everything, and devices that take note of what we do, say and eat. Marketers are now trying to ready themselves for the new wave of data that’s ahead.

Based on what I see in the marketplace and among our clients, I foresee that 2016 will be a year of great opportunity – but it will also present some new and sometimes unexpected hurdles. Here are my top eight predictions about data and where it will go this year.

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1. Privacy will become a challenge

With government entities starting to catch up to the latest in technology, I believe that new compliance and privacy regulations, as well as global differences in privacy and Internet laws will become a big challenge for marketers. Brands and platforms will have to be more transparent in what they store where, and how they intend to use it.

2. Data will increase in size

The continuous growth of, and engagement with, wearables and connected devices leaves me no doubt that the overall volume of data is set to explode. Add to that the outlook on virtual reality and connected homes, and companies will have to look for advancements in technology to manage these massive data volumes.

3. Importance of streaming real-time data

Along with the increase of connected devices, cars and homes will come a massive growth of real-time data, which will lead to the capability of making real-time advertising choices. The clear winners in the big data game will be the companies that develop solutions that allow marketers to leverage this data to make decisions in real-time.

4. Big data talent challenges

As new technologies and platforms emerge, we will continue to see a shortage of talent that can work with these innovations. This does not only apply to the analysts but also to talent along the chain from database administrators to application developers. Companies need to start investing in training to get their current workforce up to speed to meet the demand.

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5. The rise of the data business

Across the platforms and even among our own clients, we see an interesting trend emerging: more and more of them are turning into data businesses. By this, I mean that they are trying to drive additional value for their data and related investments by trying to sell it to other companies.

6. Speed and action ability instead of “Big”

While the buzzword of “big data” will continue to be a top-of-mind term for many, we are seeing a trend of more and more clients demanding fast and actionable data instead. They are less concerned about the size of the datasets and are more concerned about the availability of actionable data.

7. Prescriptive analytics instead of beautiful analytics

Building on the last point, more and more companies are asking for prescriptive output that goes beyond descriptive and predictive models to recommend actual courses of action, and showing the likely outcome of each decision. We have all seen enough pretty charts and visualizations that describe; we’re now demanding tools that will provide guidance into how to apply that data.

8. New buzzwords: cognitive computing and artificial intelligence

As we make advances in computing, processing and analytics, I foresee a big rise in the areas of artificial intelligence and cognitive computing. The ability to teach and apply human thought processes to machines will open up new opportunities when it comes to testing and optimization of your campaigns.

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