4. BIG DATA

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The above introduction mentions the imminent data boom and the technology evolving out of the need for its analysis and storage. But perhaps an introduction as to what Big Data is and is not is overdue.
Big Data; its name probably gives you a clue, but lets break it down:
1. Big: of considerable size or extent.
2. Data: Pieces of information.

But what information? And how big? For what seems quite simple terminology, Big Data can be surprisingly difficult to put into practice. Duke University professor Dan Ariely aptly puts it this way:
“Big data is like teenage sex: everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it…”
Matt Assay found the same, in an article for ReadWriteWeb he summarises a report completed by Gartner:
“..64% of enterprises surveyed indicate that they‘re deploying or planning Big Data projects. Yet even more acknowledge that they still don‘t know what to do with Big Data. Have the inmates officially taken over the Big Data asylum.”
Yet author of ‘Too Big to ignore, the business case for Big Data,’ Phil Simon will tell us that Big Data is:
“..Quite simply the term that represents the massive amounts, new types and multi-faceted sources of information that are streaming at us faster than ever.”
Perhaps the answer can be found in the history and emergence of Big Data. Gil Press, the founder of the ‘Big Data Conversation’ has conveniently written up a ‘Very Short History Of Big Data,’ for Forbes.
Perhaps the most surprising part of the Big Data timeline is its start date.

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Press puts it at 1944 when a Wesleyan University Librarian, Fremont Rider, estimated that American libraries were doubling in size every 16 years, Rider speculated that the Yale Library in 2040 will have “approximately 200,000,000 volumes, which will occupy over 6,000 miles of shelves… [requiring] a cataloguing staff of over six thousand persons.”
It was around this time that the first instance of ‘information explosion’ was noted. Its unlikely that Rider would have had any notion of just how big data was going to get, or how it might be stored, but it is one of the earliest hints at the notion of ‘Big Data.’
In 1971 there were already concerns on data privacy and its use by the likes Arthur Miller, who wrote in ‘the assault on privacy:’
“Too many information handlers seem to measure a man by the number of bits of storage capacity his dossier will occupy.”
In 1980, I.A. Tjomsland gives a talk titled “Where Do We Go From Here?” he can be quoted saying:
“Those associated with storage devices long ago realized that Parkinson’s First Law may be paraphrased to describe our industry—‘Data expands to fill the space available’…. I believe that large amounts of data are being retained because users have no way of identifying obsolete data; the penalties for storing obsolete data are less apparent than are the penalties for discarding potentially useful data.”
In 1990 Peter J. Denning provides perhaps the most interesting prediction:
“The rate and volume of information flow overwhelm our networks, storage devices and retrieval systems, as well as the human capacity for comprehension… What machines can we build that will monitor the data stream of an instrument, or sift through a database of recordings, and propose for us a statistical summary of what’s there?… it is possible to build machines that can recognize or predict patterns in data without understanding the meaning of the patterns. Such machines may eventually be fast enough to deal with large data streams in real time”
It was in 1996 that it became cheaper to store data digitally than on paper.
The 2000, Francis X. Diebold concedes the possibilities of Big Data in his paper “’Big Data’ Dynamic Factor Models for Macroeconomic Measurement and Forecasting:
“Recently, much good science, whether physical, biological, or social, has been forced to confront—and has often benefited from—the “Big Data” phenomenon.”
In 2001 we receive what will turn out to be the most widely accepted definition of Big Data from Doug Laney in a paper titled “3D Data Management: Controlling Data Volume, Velocity, and Variety,” or, simply the ‘3Vs.’
• Volume: The quantity of data that is generated. It is the size of the data which determines the value and potential of the data under consideration and whether it can actually be considered as Big Data or not.
• Velocity: The speed of generation of data or how fast the data is generated and processed to meet the demands and the challenges which lie ahead in the path of growth and development.
• Variety: Deals with the variety of incompatible data formats, non-aligned data structures, and inconsistent data semantics.

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In 2008 CISCO releases a paper predicting IP traffic will nearly double every two years through 2012, the same year Randal E. Bryant, Randy H. Katz, and Edward D. Lazowska publish “Big-Data Computing: Creating Revolutionary Breakthroughs in Commerce, Science and Society,” the publication is similar as to what Jermey Rifkin believes Big Data might mean:
“Big-data computing is perhaps the biggest innovation in computing in the last decade. We have only begun to see its potential to collect, organize, and process data in all walks of life.”
And to round out Press’ timeline, is this abstract from a paper titled “Critical Questions for Big Data” by Danah Boyd and Kate Crawford in which they define big data as “a cultural, technological, and scholarly phenomenon that rests on the interplay of:
• Technology: maximizing computation power and algorithmic accuracy to gather, analyse, link, and compare large data sets.
• Analysis: drawing on large data sets to identify patterns in order to make economic, social, technical, and legal claims.
• Mythology: the widespread belief that large data sets offer a higher form of intelligence and knowledge that can generate insights that were previously impossible, with the aura of truth, objectivity, and accuracy.”

Before moving on, it is important to clarify that Big Data means different things for different people.
Jeremy Rifkin, an economist, but also a person who studies its social and philosophical implications would go as far as to tell us that Big Data and the Internet of Things will be the beginning of the ‘third industrial revolution,’ connecting “neighbourhoods, cities, regions and continents in what industry observes call a global neural network.”
A bold claim, but he doesn’t stop there:
“Big data, transformed into predictive algorithms, programmed into automated systems to improve thermodynamic efficiencies, dramatically increase productivity and reduce the marginal cost of producing and delivering a full range of good and services to near zero across the entire economy.”
The anti-Rifkin would be people like Jaron Lanier, an American author and computer scientist. In his most recent book, Who Owns the Future, he warns of an impending disenfranchised middle class. A result of users giving away data to corporations for little or no return:
“We’re setting up a situation where better technology in the long term just means more unemployment, or an eventual socialist backlash.“
Johnson, who in his book Future Perfect, remains generally optimistic about the future of connectedness also concedes the following:
“When information is expensive and scarce, powerful or wealthy individuals or groups have a disproportionate impact on how that information circulates.”
Big Data and the Internet of things aren’t just a new means of getting things done quicker, it will dramatically change every facet of how we live and think. It will touch all levels of Brand’s levels of time. It will change the built environment, all levels of Government how we think and are educated, how we buy goods and services and how communities work together.
The following pages will focus on the Internet of Things as one of the contributers to the Big Data phenomenon.

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PRESSURE - the force applied perpendicular to the surface of an object. Pressure sensors can be embedded into the physical environment in the likes of doors or floors or any element that experiences physical force. It can be used to gauge the position of people on floors to aid in way-finding or to monitor if someone were to fall to the floor in an accident.

PRESSURE

PRESSURE

BLUETOOTH -A wireless technology for exchanging data over short distances. Most Internet of Things devices will have a sensor like Bluetooth to provide the link between objects, people, elements and the data server (usually the cloud) . Bluetooth (or wifi/cellular) provides the link between objects and is what connects the built environment to the internet.

BLUETOOTH

BLUETOOTH

TIME - the indefinite continued progress  Time is a 'broad' sensor. All sensors will record time, as well as respond to time. Time sensors used to monitor   the sequence in which elements are used allows elements to anticipate their use, creating a highly responsive   built environment.

TIME

TIME – the indefinite continued progress Time is a ‘broad’ sensor. All sensors will record time, as well as respond to time. Time sensors used to monitor the sequence in which elements are used allows elements to anticipate their use, creating a highly responsive built environment.

MOTION - the act or process of changing position or place.  Motion sensors are used to detect and analyse either the type of movement a person makes within a space or   the movement of a person through a space. Motion can be relayed onto other objects and inform how these   objects operate, for example, a wall measuring the motion of someone when they awake triggering the lights to   switch on.

MOTION

MOTION – the act or process of changing position or place. Motion sensors are used to detect and analyse either the type of movement a person makes within a space or the movement of a person through a space. Motion can be relayed onto other objects and inform how these objects operate, for example, a wall measuring the motion of someone when they awake triggering the lights to switch on.

SOUND - vibrations that travel through the air or another medium and can be heard when they reach a person's   or animal's ear.  Sound sensors are used to measure noise levels across a range of frequencies. Sound sensors can be used to   activate security measures, for example, if elements register a sound such as glass breaking, an alarm could be   triggered. Sound sensors could also be sensitive enough to sense vibration alerting of foundation movement.

SOUND

SOUND – vibrations that travel through the air or another medium and can be heard when they reach a person’s or animal’s ear. Sound sensors are used to measure noise levels across a range of frequencies. Sound sensors can be used to activate security measures, for example, if elements register a sound such as glass breaking, an alarm could be triggered. Sound sensors could also be sensitive enough to sense vibration alerting of foundation movement.

RFID – (radio frequency identification) - the wireless use of electromagnetic fields to transfer data, for the purposes of automatically identifying and tracking tags attached to objects. RFID tags are used in a similar manner to barcodes, to record and track the usage and locations of possessions. Unlike a barcode, the tag contains electronically stored information, which can be transmitted to the reader from remote sites, offering greater flexibility of use.

RFID

RFID – (radio frequency identification) – the wireless use of electromagnetic fields to transfer data, for the purposes of automatically identifying and tracking tags attached to objects. RFID tags are used in a similar manner to barcodes, to record and track the usage and locations of possessions. Unlike a barcode, the tag contains electronically stored information, which can be transmitted to the reader from remote sites, offering greater flexibility of use.

SMOKE – a visible suspension of carbon or other particles in air, typically one emitted from a burning substance.  Smoke detectors analyse the air for smoke, typically as an indicator of fire. The sensors activate automatic   opening vents to extract the smoke from the building. When smoke is detected, an audible or visual alarm is   triggered and the emergency services are alerted.

SMOKE

SMOKE

PARTICLES – a minute portion of matter.  Particle detectors are used to detect, track and/or identify high energy particles, such as those produced by   nuclear decay or cosmic radiation. In unsafe conditions, sensors can alert people in the surrounding area to   evacuate and alert the emergency services immediately.

PARTICLES

PARTICLES – a minute portion of matter. Particle detectors are used to detect, track and/or identify high energy particles, such as those produced by nuclear decay or cosmic radiation. In unsafe conditions, sensors can alert people in the surrounding area to evacuate and alert the emergency services immediately.

TOUCH – the physiological sense by which external objects or forces are perceived through contact with the   body.  Touch sensors are used to operate elements within the built environment. Different types of touch motion i.e tap,   swipe, push trigger different actions. Touch recognition allows preferences to be recorded for multiple users.

TOUCH

TOUCH – the physiological sense by which external objects or forces are perceived through contact with the body. Touch sensors are used to operate elements within the built environment. Different types of touch motion i.e tap, swipe, push trigger different actions. Touch recognition allows preferences to be recorded for multiple users.

WIND – the perceptible natural movement of the air, especially in the form of a current of air blowing from a  particular direction. Wind meters are used to measure wind speed and direction over a certain area. If high levels   of wind are detected, protection measures are triggered to improve the comfort of an environment. During   extreme levels of wind, people may be instructed to evacuate or emergency services may be alerted.

WIND

WIND – the perceptible natural movement of the air, especially in the form of a current of air blowing from a particular direction. Wind meters are used to measure wind speed and direction over a certain area. If high levels of wind are detected, protection measures are triggered to improve the comfort of an environment. During extreme levels of wind, people may be instructed to evacuate or emergency services may be alerted.

TEMPERATURE – a measure of the average kinetic energy of atoms or molecules in a system.  Temperature sensors are used to monitor both the ambient temperature of a space and the temperature of   individuals within that space. The sensors can trigger temperature adjustments for the whole space or local to the   user, to improve user comfort levels.

TEMPERATURE

TEMPERATURE – a measure of the average kinetic energy of atoms or molecules in a system. Temperature sensors are used to monitor both the ambient temperature of a space and the temperature of individuals within that space. The sensors can trigger temperature adjustments for the whole space or local to the user, to improve user comfort levels.

HEART RATE – the number of heartbeats per unit of time, usually per minute.  Heart rate monitors are used to measure the heart rate of individuals, to help identify comfort levels and also   potential health risks. If an individual experiences heart problems, the emergency services can be alerted   immediately.

HEART RATE

HEART RATE – the number of heartbeats per unit of time, usually per minute. Heart rate monitors are used to measure the heart rate of individuals, to help identify comfort levels and also potential health risks. If an individual experiences heart problems, the emergency services can be alerted immediately.

SPEECH - the sound produced by the vocal organs of a vertebrate, especially a human.  Voice commands are used to instruct elements to perform a certain task or to initiate certain events. Voice   recognition allows preferences to be recorded for multiple users.

SPEECH

SPEECH – the sound produced by the vocal organs of a vertebrate, especially a human. Voice commands are used to instruct elements to perform a certain task or to initiate certain events. Voice recognition allows preferences to be recorded for multiple users.

FLAME – a hot glowing body of ignited gas that is  Flame sensors are used to detect and respond to the presence of a flame or fire. When a flame or fire is   detected, the sensor can trigger various responses, in the form of an alarm, a sprinkler system or deactivation of   a fuel line. A flame detector can often respond faster and more accurately than a smoke or heat detector,   enabling immediate evacuation of an affected area.

FLAME

FLAME – a hot glowing body of ignited gas that is Flame sensors are used to detect and respond to the presence of a flame or fire. When a flame or fire is detected, the sensor can trigger various responses, in the form of an alarm, a sprinkler system or deactivation of a fuel line. A flame detector can often respond faster and more accurately than a smoke or heat detector, enabling immediate evacuation of an affected area.

BRIGHTNESS – the   effect  Light sensors are used to monitor and adjust the brightness of a space. An optimum level of illuminance can be   achieved to improve user comfort or to enhance the experience of a space, for example, the lighting in a gallery   adjusted to consider the level of natural daylighting.

BRIGHTNESS

BRIGHTNESS – the effect Light sensors are used to monitor and adjust the brightness of a space. An optimum level of illuminance can be achieved to improve user comfort or to enhance the experience of a space, for example, the lighting in a gallery adjusted to consider the level of natural daylighting.

AIR QUALITY – the degree to which air in a particular place is pollution-free.  Air quality sensors sample the air regularly to analyse pollution content i.e dust, pollen, gas. The sensors trigger   the extraction of pollutants to improve air quality and user comfort. The sensors can alert the user or emergency   services in a case where the level of pollutant is dangerous.

AIR QUALITY

AIR QUALITY – the degree to which air in a particular place is pollution-free. Air quality sensors sample the air regularly to analyse pollution content i.e dust, pollen, gas. The sensors trigger the extraction of pollutants to improve air quality and user comfort. The sensors can alert the user or emergency services in a case where the level of pollutant is dangerous.

WATER – a clear, colourless, odourless, and tasteless liquid, H2O, essential for most plant and animal life.  Moisture sensors are used to monitor the moisture content of both natural and built elements. The sensors can   be used to trigger responses to improve user comfort or safety. In natural environments, high levels or water   detection can trigger a flood warning. In the built environment, early water detection can prevent water damage to   infrastructure.

WATER

WATER – a clear, colourless, Moisture sensors are used to monitor the moisture content of both natural and built elements. The sensors can be used to trigger responses to improve user comfort or safety. In natural environments, high levels or water detection can trigger a flood warning. In the built environment, early water detection can prevent water damage to infrastructure.

EEG – (electroencephalogram) a test that detects electrical activity in the brain using electrodes.  EEGs are used to map the brain activity of individual to gauge comfort, mood and responses to the environment.   Impulse responses to changes in the surrounding can be recorded and used to improve the environmental   conditions according to individual user preferences.

EEG

EEG – (electroencephalogram) a test that detects electrical activity in the brain using electrodes. EEGs are used to map the brain activity of individual to gauge comfort, mood and responses to the environment. Impulse responses to changes in the surrounding can be recorded and used to improve the environmental conditions according to individual user preferences.

PROXIMITY – nearness in space, time, or relationship.  Proximity sensors use infrared to detect the presence of nearby objects without any physical contact. Elements   are able to detect the distance between themselves, other elements and individuals. When certain proximity is   recorded between two elements or an element and an individual, the element is triggered to respond with an   action.

PROXIMITY

PROXIMITY – nearness in space, time, or relationship. Proximity sensors use infrared to detect the presence of nearby objects without any physical contact. Elements are able to detect the distance between themselves, other elements and individuals. When certain proximity is recorded between two elements or an element and an individual, the element is triggered to respond with an action.

LOCATION – a particular place or position where something is or where something is occurring.  Position sensors are used to record the location of people and objects. Sensors are able to track both individual’s   movements and place-specific events, enabling the surrounding environment to alter to suit the preferences of   each individual and of each event.

LOCATION

LOCATION – a particular place or position where something is or where something is occurring. Position sensors are used to record the location of people and objects. Sensors are able to track both individual’s movements and place-specific events, enabling the surrounding environment to alter to suit the preferences of each individual and of each event.

CAMERA – a device for recording visual images in the form of photographs, film, or video signals.  Cameras are incorporated into elements, enabling both still images and video recordings to be captured at all   times. These images and recordings can be relayed instantly to other elements which are responsible for   adjusting the environment, either to enhance user comfort or to improve security.

CAMERA

CAMERA – a device for recording visual images in the form of photographs, film, or video signals. Cameras are incorporated into elements, enabling both still images and video recordings to be captured at all times. These images and recordings can be relayed instantly to other elements which are responsible for adjusting the environment, either to enhance user comfort or to improve security.

BARCODE - a machine-readable code in the form of numbers widths, printed on a commodity and used especially for stock control. Barcodes are used to scan items as they pass from one threshold to another i.e. doors, corridors, windows. The use of possessions is recorded and their locations tracked. A low stock item is replenished or redistributed accordingly.

BARCODE

BARCODE – a machine-readable code in the form of numbers widths, printed on a commodity and used especially for stock control. Barcodes are used to scan items as they pass from one threshold to another i.e. doors, corridors, windows. The use of possessions is recorded and their locations tracked. A low stock item is replenished or redistributed accordingly.