Big Data, for Better or Worse: 90% of World’s Data Generated Over Last Two Years

A full 90% of all the data in the world has been generated over the last two years. The internet companies are awash with data that can be grouped and utilised. Is this a good thing?

An increasing amount of data is becoming available on the internet. Each and every one of us is constantly producing and releasing data about ourselves. We do this either by moving around passively — our behaviour being registered by cameras or card usage — or by logging onto our PCs and surfing the net.

The volumes of data make up what has been designated ‘Big Data‘ — where data about individuals, groups and periods of time are combined into bigger groups or longer periods of time.

Research advantages

Petter Bae Brandtzæg of SINTEF ICT points to the huge research centres now developed at internet companies such as Facebook and Google.

‘The advantage they have is the enormous volume of data that other social researchers can only dream of,’ he says. However, it has also changed the way SINTEF researchers work. Even those not working in the major internet companies can still access Big Data.

Brandtzæg has investigated a tool called Wisdom developed by the American-based company MicroStrategy, and has started applying it in the delTA-project which addresses young people’s social activity on the internet.

‘This gives me access to data about over 20 million people — without making a single inquiry. I can analyse different preferences on Facebook and look at age and gender differences between various groups and nations across the world. So far I have compared gender differences in social activity on Facebook between people in Norway, Spain, England, USA, Russia, Egypt, India and China.’

Data protection is a problem we often associate with Big Data, but according to Brandtzæg, data from Wisdom is restricted to large groups and does not go down to ‘individual level’. This makes it possible for him to compare large groups without any data protection problems.

Short, transitory information

Big Data makes it possible to achieve research results that cover a wide range of issues, and can tell us a great deal about developments in the world in many different areas. It is possible to carry out thorough analyses and comparisons between countries and different genders.

For example, researchers in Facebook’s own research department have looked into how people across the world update their messages, and what kind of information they post about themselves and their lives.

‘The surveys show that the messages people have been posting have been getting shorter each year,’ says Brandtzæg. ‘This reflects the increase in other types of fast social communication, such as Twitter, which has achieved huge popularity because it is about expressing oneself briefly and concisely in a maximum of 140 characters. Another trend in that direction is that young people are telling their stories using images rather than text. The current Instragram craze could be due to the fact that you don’t have to write anything.

Comparing data

These volumes of data can therefore provide us with useful information. However, Big Data can become a problem when different sources of data are compared for commercial use in targeted advertising campaigns.

It is becoming increasingly common for data about our location to be linked to our purchasing preferences — about what we like and don’t like. Facebook has made big strides in this area.

Vulnerability and data protection are the dark sides of our new entry into huge data sets and registers.

‘Who knows — in two years, perhaps the tax register will be linked to the health and insurance register?’ says Petter Bae Brandtzæg. ‘And tax data can go astray; it has happened before.’

What opinions are being communicated?

The overwhelming volume of data being produced raises the issue of the content of all this information. What is being communicated?

The Networked Systems and Services department at SINTEF, to which Petter Bae Brandtzæg belongs, has recently had a bid accepted for the EU REVEAL project. In this project, researchers will look at combinations of different data sources and learn about people’s ability to express themselves, and about the quality and truthfulness of data registered on social media. What is the content of these media? Who are the senders? Who else has said the same thing?

‘We will look at various sources in relation to each other, and for example find out how trustworthy Twitter messages are,’ says Brandtzæg. He also points to the new trend in fragmenting information across many channels — such as Facebook, SMS, e-mail, blogs, Twitter and Instagram.

How trustworthy are the media?

The ability to disseminate information to large groups in real time has made Twitter and Facebook important communications tools when major events take place.

When hunting for the Boston terrorists, the police, authorities and traditional media also used social media like Twitter, Instagram, Reddit and Facebook to actively collect and disseminate information about the incident. Several voluntary groups were also set up via social media, in order to try and help the police. However, social media as channels of communications proved to be not entirely beneficial, but also a source of confusion and misinformation.

Can Big Data be used as a resource for journalists, and how trustworthy is the information available on social media? This is one of the subjects that the SINTEF researchers will be looking into as part of the EU REVEAL project.

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In flight entertainment

Virgin Atlantic have taken the in-flight safety check concept to a new level. It is surprising how no other airline has looked at how to ‘jazz’ up this usually very boring, uninspiring but ironically very important information before. Anyway please enjoy and for all you marketing guys out there even the mundane can be made exciting:


How Sports Fans Engage With Social Media

Below there are some great statistics on how sports fans engage with social media:

Some key highlights:

  • The number 1 social media platform is Facebook, followed by Youtube and then twitter
  • On game day the solution that is used most is Twitter followed by Facebook
  • After the game instagram is the out right winner
  • Google+ and YouTube are on the rise among fans. When fans responded to a question about which platforms they use to “disseminate and acquire sports information,” those two platforms showed the most year-over-year growth, at 94% and 35%, respectively.


Fan Engagement _Infograph_FinalVersion

Thanks to

Top 10 InfoSec People to Follow on Twitter

Top 10 InfoSec People to Follow on Twitter

Twitter is an excellent place to get curated security news from the people on the ground, so to speak. Here’s my personal top 10 InfoSec people to follow on Twitter. This list will give you a really good mix–from attacking SSL to data leaks to web app security best practices–these prolific folks are full of insights.

Please enjoy and share!

1. Bruce Schneier @schneierblog

Bruce Schneier is an American cryptographer, computer security specialist, and writer. He is the author of several books on general security topics, computer security and cryptography.

2. Troy Hunt @troyhunt

Troy Hunt is a developer, architect and web security specialist. He regularly blogs about application security, improving the software development process and all things technology related.

3. Lenny Zeltser @lennyzeltser

Lenny Zeltser is a seasoned business and tech leader with extensive experience in information technology and security. As a product management director at NCR Corporation, he focuses on safeguarding IT operations of small and midsize businesses world-wide.

4. Thomas H. Ptacek @tqbf

Thomas Ptacek is currently with Matasano. He has owned technical operations at Chicago’s most popular ISP, authored Insertion, Evasion, and Denial of Service, a landmark paper which broke every shipping intrusion detection product on the market.

5. Steve Gibson @sggrc

Steve Gibson is a computer enthusiast, software engineer and security researcher. In 1985, Gibson founded Gibson Research Corporation, which is best known for its SpinRite software.  Steve co-hosts a weekly podcast called Security Now on the TWiT network.

6. Brian Krebs @briankrebs

Brian Krebs an American journalist and investigative reporter. Krebs is the author, a daily blog on computer security and cybercrime.

7. John Kindervag @kindervag

John Kindervag is a Principle Analyst at Forrester. He is a leading expert on wireless security, network security, security information management, and PCI data security.

8. Anton Chuvaken @anton_chuvakin

Anton Chuvakin is a computer security specialist, currently a Research Director at Gartner for Technical Professionals Security and Risk Management Strategies team. Formerly he was a principal at Security Warrior Consulting.  His personal blog is terrific.

9. Dan Goodin @dangoodin001

Dan Goodin is IT Security Editor at Ars Technica, where he oversees coverage of malware, computer espionage, botnets, and hardware hacking.

10. Moxie Marlinspike @moxie

Moxie Marlinspike is a computer security researcher. He was the chief technology officer and co-founder of Whisper Systems, is a member of the Institute for Disruptive Studies, runs a cloud-based WPA cracking service; and manages the GoogleSharing targeted anonymity service.

Bull Expands into Data Analytics Market with C24 Partnership Deal

-Cutting Edge Capability Drives Bull’s Launch of New Business Intelligence Solutions Offering-

Hemel Hempstead, 2 July 2013: Building on a long heritage designing, building and operating mission-critical IT systems, Bull Information Systems has announced it is expanding into the data analytics market and launching a new business intelligence solution. Bull’s move is supported by a new strategic partnership agreement with data analytics specialist, C24, which will enable the design, development and operation of customised analytical solutions for core target markets.

“With data volumes increasing exponentially, having the ability to report, consolidate and amalgamate multiple sets of data will become increasingly important for businesses to understand their customers’ behaviour but also to predict and forecast how they can grow their business in new areas,” says Andrew Carr, CEO, Bull Information Systems.

Supported by this cutting-edge capability, Bull’s newly-launched portfolio of business intelligence tools, entitled Bull Information Solutions, is an intuitive user-centric set of analytical tools that incorporates easy to use visualisation capability that makes it simpler to interpret information and analyse business trends, driving faster time to value for business users from the C-level down. Further enhancing productivity and driving operational efficiencies, the tool also enables Bull’s customers to run their own reports at the point of need.

Critically, the new solution allows the analysis of both structured and unstructured data, enabling Bull’s customers to enhance their understanding of their customers’ buying patterns. This allows them to drive enhanced revenues by better targeting of offers and increase customer retention by personalising the service to each customer’s needs. While Bull sees the solution as having broad market appeal, it is initially being targeted at local authorities, universities and the retail sector.

“We decided to partner with C24 to deliver this capability because we were impressed not just with their big data analytics capability but also with their agility and flexibility to deliver solutions that drive tangible results,” adds Carr. “They have also demonstrated commitment to the market through their significant investment in visualisation tools and commitment to work with Bull.”

“We are delighted with the new partnership agreement with Bull,” says David Ricketts, head of marketing, C24. “Working with Bull will allow us to scale up our offering in the UK market, with the potential to expand further globally. It extends our reach into new markets such as education and local government and will also give us access to a high performance analytics platform.”

The new partnership and solutions offering also represents the latest phase of Bull 3.0, Bull’s drive to become a high performance organisation, a transition Carr helped kick-start last year when he took on the mantle of CEO.  The new focus on analytics and business intelligence adds another key element to Bull’s solutions portfolio, which already incorporates cloud and managed services; technology integration, information management, including big data storage and advisory services, and high-performance computing (HPC).




About C24

C24 is an application, hosting and managed service specialist who delivers on its promises. We look to; lower overheads associated with our clients IT infrastructure, implement secure, robust networks that enable our clients to concentrate on their core businesses and to deliver solutions that enable our clients to outperform their competition.

As an application delivery specialist, working with business applications such as Microsoft Dynamics, Microsoft Exchange, Sage and numerous other software solutions we aim to deliver world class solutions. Our portfolio of services enable our clients to have a one stop shop for their IT needs, these services include; hosted application delivery, 24/7/365 IT services helpdesk, systems integration, full managed services provision, best in breed back-up solutions and disaster recovery.

About Bull, Architect of an Open World

Bull is an Information Technology company, dedicated to helping corporations and public sector organisations optimise the architecture, operations and the financial return of their information systems and their mission-critical related businesses. Bull focuses on open and secure systems, and as such is the only European-based company offering expertise in all the key elements of the IT value chain. For more information visit: or follow on Twitter @Bull_UK


For further information please contact:

Tom Webb

The Whiteoaks Consultancy

Phone: +44 (0) 1252 727313


130 Bull data analytics press release (FINAL)

Big Data and The Nonprofit Organization

I’m a little bit behind on the hot topic of Big Data, but I’ve been meaning to write about it for awhile, and just got… busy. It’s maybe less of a hot topic now than a month or few months ago, but I don’t think it’s being talked about enough when it comes to it’s role in the nonprofit industry.

We mostly hear about Big Data coming out of the Silicon Valley and Facebook. The information Facebook has on it’s users is astounding, frightening even. The ads on my Facebook sidebar are a fairly accurate depiction of the things I’d actually be interested in – free trades if I join E-TradeHuman Rights Campaign, MBA scholarship opportunities, etc… My posts about starting grad school, social liberalism, and my involvement in the stock markets have made their mark, whether I intended them to or not. Every search we make online is recorded, and companies are using Big Data to profit Big Time.

That’s all well and good, I’m putting myself out there on the internet, let them use whatever information they want to extract. But how can nonprofits get in on this action? Nonprofits won’t just start marketing hiking boots to people who love the outdoors. It’s not so simple.

I work for a social services nonprofit. We provide direct services to our target populations and we collect a fair amount of demographics on them. For example, in terms of fighting hunger, we register the income of families and level of hunger insecurity. We can compare this to ourselves overtime to see if there has been any improvement; now with more prolific information available, we can also compare it to wider statistics across San Diego County or across the nation. Sure, that’s a basic example and frankly, those kind of reports have been coming out of nonprofits for a long time since hunger is such a significant force in the industry.

Especially awareness and advocacy is a realm within the nonprofit industry that can benefit from the use of Big Data. Harvard Business Review discusses how international information gathered about human rights abuses can bring about truth that would otherwise remain under the radar. Also, in terms of gauging literacy not only locally, but nationally and globally as well.

Big Data shows where social services are falling short and where they are succeeding. It shows what funds are being used most effectively so that donors and prospective donors can make intelligent choices so that $1 today creates a bigger impact than $1 yesterday.

The unfortunate part of this story, however, is that many nonprofits won’t have the opportunity to utilize Big Data. Many will likely admit the benefit, but simply don’t have the resources to spend time, money, and energy on it. Donors and volunteers want their contributions to go to immediate needs, not long-term innovation. The fact that most nonprofits are entirely volunteer-run, with zero personnel, doesn’t help the case either. For this, nonprofits are always going to be a step behind corporations. Facebook will always have the upper leg on Big Data than any nonprofit organization, no matter how big.

Big Data has to be publicly available to everyone. Companies, organizations, individuals can all decide to use it in order to boost profits, raise awareness, provide services, the options are endless. But if Big Data remains to be an asset only to those that can afford it, it’s benefit to the nonprofit industry may never be realized.

posted in BusinessEconomicsNonprofitSocial Sciences by 

5 Lessons on the Future of Video from Mary Meeker

This blog was originally published by ZoomTilt (

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byer’s rockstar, internet-trend-watching analyst Mary Meeker has just released the 2013 edition of her annual internet trends report at the Wall Street Journal’s D11: All Things Digital Conference.

And while Meeker focuses the bulk of the report’s attention on sound, mobile and wearable tech, the 2013 Internet Trends Report also gives a big nod to the importance and evolving presence of video in the digital landscape. So without further adieu, here are 5 key lessons on the future of video courtesy of Mary Meeker (with some analytical interpretation via ZoomTilt).

Lesson #1: Mobile isn’t just a “second screen”

We are moving beyond an era where your smart phone is just the thing you use to Tweet during TV commercial breaks. The majority of mobile device use occurs somewhat counter-intuitively within people’s homes, the average phone user checks social media on their phone nine times per day, and mobile as a share of total internet traffic is showing exponential (not linear) growth.

Mobile Internet Growth

Lesson for the video community: If you work with digital video content, expect your content to be consumed (and hopefully shared) via mobile. Whether it’s a Twitter Vine or longer-form content, mobile is not just a second screen – in many cases it is a primary screen, so make sure (1) your content is discoverable on mobile and (2) anticipate the viewing experience on a small screen (potentially with poor audio and a time-constrained viewer). See also ReelSEO’s great article on 5 ways to optimize your video for mobile viewing.

Lesson #2: YouTube is a social network (and a big one, at that)

In addition to being a subsegment of the world’s largest search engine, YouTube is also the world’s second largest social network. YouTube is also demonstrating user growth at rates much higher than Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+.

YouTube is a social network

Lesson for the video community: try actually being social both within and outside of YouTube. On YouTube: be active in the comments feed, comment on other videos you like and response to comments and messages about your own videos. Outside of YouTube: network and collaborate with other creators to formulate great original content, help get your work more exposure and get better economies of scale with audience-building.

Lesson #3: Short-form video is exploding in popularity

In large part thanks to the momentum of Twitter’s Vine, Meeker points out that short-form video creation and consumption is growing rapidly:

Twitter Vine

However, short-form video presents both a tremendous opportunity and a tremendous challenge. Because of the format, successful Vines must be immediately and impressively visual, and the medium makes telling a story, developing characters or provoking audience emotional engagement highly challenging. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of vines get very low engagement, with few views and even fewer retweets. By comparison, the Vine’s that break through and achieve a degree of viral lift typically showcase highly clever, thoughtful cinematography optimized for the animated GIF-like repetitive format.

Lesson for the video community: despite what your agent or agency might tell you, Vine isn’t the holy grain for your branding, social media or content creation needs: it is a tool, and one that must be used wisely. Think your audience really wants to watch your Vine? No, your audience would rather sit down and watch a full-length episode of Mad Men with riveting plot development, so if you’re going to start cranking out Vines do your best to get creative with it and experiment.

Lesson #4: America does not equal the internet

One of the most awesome lessons from Meeker’s presentation is just how international the internet has become. Compared to America’s 244 million internet users (at a population penetration of 78%), India already has 137 million internet users at a population penetration of only 11%. Meanwhile, China boasts 564 million internet subscribers, while Brazil is coming on strong with 88 million web-connected people. Also, interestingly according to Meeker, we don’t share as much content on the internet as other cultures:

US social media sharing

Lesson for the video community: Think about an international audience when you’re creating and distributing digital video and look into things like foreign language programming or captioning on your YouTube content, both areas where Machinima typically does a great job.

Lesson #5: Content is becoming more democratic (and, thereby, more competitive) than ever before

Wondering why nobody’s watching your videos? Well, it might be because of this, but it probably also has something to do with the fact that 100 hours per minute of video are uploaded to YouTube every single minute. Talk about a flood of content that’s showing no sign of slowing down.

Damn Thats a Lot of Video

Lesson for the video community: be really deliberate about the content you create a give people a compelling reason to watch it. The best type of content to achieve this is video that creates value for the viewer – ideally a combination of emotional value (e.g., funny, exciting, shocking) and relevant information value.

Changes Big Data And Technology Have Brought Into The Retail Industry

There was once a time when retailers relied on large spreadsheets to keep track of things. Critical employees had to fly around in order to find the best products and maintain the best inventory. Today, the scenario is totally different. Big Data has played a large part in the changes witnessed in the retail industry.

Some have adapted well to the changes (some have even taken advantage of the changes) and some have struggled with them. Marianne Bickle (Contributor,, looks at some of the changes that Big Data and technology have brought about…

1. Retailers are finding it more difficult to make predictions. This might actually come as a surprise to many considering that Big Data actually empowers retailers to pinpoint what a particular customer wants. What many people do NOT realize is that it is “a two-edged sword.”

A consumer group might be lost simply because they have moved to a different mobile device which isn’t supported by their current retailer. In this case, it might be difficult to predict how many customers you’ll lose (or have lost).

2. Poor customer experience reports now spread like wild fire. It’s no longer the case of one unhappy customer telling ten other people. With social media, it could be a few millions before your company prepares an official position. There are instances of viral videos that have “hurt” businesses.

3. Trends are changing faster and businesses have many more tools that can help them gather vital information about the trends (Twitter, Facebook, email, etc).

4. It is now critical that the analysis of data provides insight into why and how consumers buy a particular product. Such analysis should also provide their demographics and psycho-graphics. Otherwise, money spent on advertisement will be a waste.

To read the rest of this article, go here…


Love this idea, could be really good for store cards as well especially if the profile of the shoppers was ‘twitter friendly’

Last year American Express trialed a Twitter-based social commerce service, enabling Amex cardholders to get discounts on purchases made with their card (synced to their Twitter account) if they tweeted about them (using a hashtag). The discount was applied directly to their Amex statement.

Today, Amex has upgraded this save-by-tweet into a pay-by-tweet service, emulating a similar service offered by Chirpify.

Here’s how it works, Amex cardholders sync their Amex card with Twitter at Then, when Amex/Amex retailers offer deals (published in the @AmericanExpress Twitter feed), cardholders can buy them by simply tweeting the deal’s special hashtag – e.g. #BuyAmexGiftCard25. This effectively promotes the deal – and Amex cards – to all the cardholders followers. To avoid errors, Amex tweets back to the user (@username) to check they want to buy, and the user must confirm with a tweet reply within 15 minutes. The cardholder’s card is debited, and the purchase sent out.

The upgraded Amex pay-by-tweet service is launching next Monday in the US and going live with a deal for Amazon Kindle Fire HD for $150 and an Xbox 360 4GB console with a three-month Xbox Live subscription for $180.

So will it work? The Amex pay-by-tweet initiative is part of a broad industry move for financial services companies to get more intimately involved with e-commerce. For example, the world’s second largest lender. China Construction Bank is reinventing itself as a fully-fledged e-commerce portal that is home to thousands of vendors, big and small. And Twitter powered commerce has precedent, Innovative Thunder’s free-for-a-tweet ( service has been popular – winning a marketing award at Cannes, whilst PayPal-connected Chirpify has long allowed consumers to buy and sell directly in-stream Twitter (and Instagram).

But linking payment cards to social media accounts has had a rocky history. Remember Blippy, and the original Swipely? That didn’t end to well; surprisingly (not) people didn’t want to share their payment card purchases with the world.

Perhaps times have changed, but the Amex Sync service on Twitter will only succeed if the deals are really great – worth talking about, and there is a cast iron guarantee that if an account is hacked – or “borrowed” by your sister – the user will not be responsible for unauthorised purchases.

What do you think – would you buy with a tweet?

GroupOn CEO’s farewell note

Andrew Mason, former CEO of GroupOn, sent out this e-mail in his farewell address: At the end he says: “My biggest regrets are the moments that I let a lack of data override my intuition on what’s best for our customers.”

I find what Mr Mason said interesting for a number of reasons:

1) As the once darling on a rapidly expanding sector and with it what seems resources that we can only dream of, you would imagine that he would have had access to some of the most sophisticated intelligence tools available and this aligned to what should be volumes of quality data. So his intuition should at this stage be only confirmed.

2) Is the data that is being created have any value or are organisations blinded by the sheer volume and cannot in anyway extrapolate true business value

Anyway I wish him the best of luck in the future.