Mobile devices and apps will generate seven exabytes of data by 2015, a number that will continue to double and perhaps triple each year. Not only are huge volumes of data/content being communicated through mobile networks, but there has been unexpected growth in related communications and transactions, such as:
- Salesforce.com getting 60 percent of its “transaction volume” from mobile devices
- Pandora delivering 60 percent of its music minutes to mobile devices
- Facebook getting 30 percent of its traffic from mobile
- Twitter getting 55 percent of tweets from mobile
This dramatic growth, coupled with low-cost, large-scale data architectures, is making it possible for “Big Data” to capture, analyze, and act in real-time to maximize the impact for business. But I would argue that big data and mobile are also intertwined, and the total societal impact of one depends on the other.
The unique benefits of mobile—ubiquity, immediacy, and relevance—are magnified by big data. To fully leverage these attributes, mobile solutions need to be location-aware (ubiquitous), real-time (immediate), and context-aware (relevant). Seventy percent of mobile apps are abandoned within the first two months after being downloaded, due in large part to the fact that they are not enterprise-class, not connected to the data and analytics that make them engaging, and therefore not leveraging the attributes of mobile. Big data is becoming a critical element in meeting these demanding expectations from the user.
Together, mobile and big data provide an opportunity to not only offer users convenience and utility, but to actually drive behavior change. A health insurance company, for example, might deploy a consumer-facing app that mashes up claims data with public health data and personal fitness/wellness data from other consumer apps. This creates the opportunity for powerful analytics to help guide the consumer to make better health decisions based on a real-time view of their current condition and available options.
Sustaining behavior change is critical to virtually every industry, whether it’s getting a patient to follow their prescribed therapy (only 70 percent do so in the U.S.), encouraging an employee to save more for retirement (there is only a 3.6 percent savings rate in the U.S.), or getting an energy customer to make more efficient decisions (the average U.S. household wastes 25 percent of its energy). This is where mobile and big data can play a significant role. By marrying context, personalization, and knowledge of potential actions/offers using mobile and big data/analytics, the impact of retail, healthcare solutions and beyond could be improved drastically.
Where big data is accelerating the sustaining of behavior change, it is also accelerating the convergence of people and objects. There are now nearly 10 billion things connected and only about half of them will be mobile phones. Yet up until now, the hundreds of millions of connected objects—truck fleets, environmental sensors, smart meters, etc.—were considered part of the closed “Machine-to-Machine” or M2M world. This is changing. Fueled by the integration of technologies such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, QR Codes, and NFC into mobile devices, we are lowering the barrier for people to interact with objects, and opening up a new category of innovations we call P2M, or “People to Machines.”
Very soon, we will not talk about mobility or big data but just real-time, personalized interactions that drive business impact, anywhere, anytime, on any screen. Now that’s powerful.