Big Data plus IoT; it’s rolling even when you’re not there!

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So the combination Big Data plus IoT will enable predicting and personalizing in real-time Clients Relationships, do risks analysis, redesign products by extrapolating the impact of some functionalities, offer custom heath care, reduce maintenance costs, up date your website in real-time, identify new opportunities, etc.

Or so they say!  Why?  How?

Big Data is basically the analysis of astronomical quantity of data so to extrapolate patterns and therefore predict behaviours, be it consumers or machines, consumer behaviour and satisfaction or performance and durability, etc.

So if you put together,  Big Data plus IoT, you now have access to the physical world of connected objects, and to data from M2M (Machine to Machine) relationships but also M2P / P2M (Person to Machine).

The more Big Data plus IoT will accumulate data over the longer period of time, the more its predictions will be right and sound…

And this formidable combination of Big Data plus IoT is already running at full speed as we speak, changing our lives even though we are not aware of it. Having doubts?  Well, read this carefully:

  1. Every minute, we send 204 million emails, generate 1.8 million Facebook likes, send 278 thousand tweets, and upload 200 thousand photos to Facebook.
  2. 12 million RFID tags (used to capture data and track movement of objects in the physical world) were sold in 2011. By 2021, it’s estimated this number will increase to 209 billion as it takes off.
  3. The IoT boom means that the amount of devices that connect to the internet will rise from about 15 billion today to 50 billion by 2020.
  4. The Big Data industry is expected to grow from US$10.2 billion in 2013 to about US$54.3 billion by 2017.

 (Source : Tamara Dull)

Convinced?  Not yet?  Well, here’s to put you in appetite… of data.

Some Big Data plus IoT potential applications

As you arrive to the concert, you get an automated purchase RFID bracelet which was previously authorized by you and associated with the credit card you use to buy your tickets… since you didn’t read the long list of small character purchase conditions, and you clicked on « ACCEPT ».

You have planned a trip to Charlevoix with your electric car, that has automatically booked an electrical charging station along the trip (with 50% preauthorized budget in case of cancellation) after it noticed your Hotel Booking confirmation email… in Gmail.

At the Bank, the agent consults your real-time updated profile and suggests you a well-advised Student Savings Plan, thanks to Big Data which has taken into account your lasts purchases, you very recent salary rise and your multiple family / education / pregnancy conversations on Social Media and maternity websites.

The SAQ agent, as in the actual advertising, provides with a very highly personalized service since he knows exactly what you are looking for, thanks to your SAQ card and the analysis of your purchase history.

A retailer sends you a personalized offer on you cellular as you approach one of his boutiques after Big Data has made a match between your needs and his product as expressed in recent conversations on a Facebook Group and Twitter.

The analysis of non-structured data (texts) on Social Media enables a retailer to identify and understand the sentiments of consumers towards his brand and other similar products and therefore, to segment them in different geographic areas and in different demographic groups; and finally, to adjust his offering accordingly to increase sales.

Shazam suggests new artists recruiting opportunities for record labels by identifying and localizing the emergence of new musical sub-cultures through real-time monitoring of its service, also helped by geolocation of mobile devices.

3 data insights in the Big Data plus IoT era *

One must nowadays really understand the scope of sharing its data and according permissions; that’s the context. That goes as well for the supplier who required the data and which might call upon these permissions in automated transactions, among other things, as for the consumer who, for the moment, can still foresee the budgets involved.

It might become quite handy to establish a kind of relationship code (automated or not) between consumer and suppliers bases on rules of good practice and ethics; which would contribute to maintain good relationships between everybody and enhance mutual satisfaction level, thus guaranteeing good business for everybody.

1. The one that creates the data is responsible for the data *

If an enterprise or an organization creates and collects data, it is her responsibility to secure and protect that data from any modification, destruction, interception, loss or unauthorized use.

Any enterprise or organization which would make hers this principle and advertise it openly would certainly win itself a high sympathy capital.

2. Data use must be clearly stipulated by suppliers (and machines) *

People clearly expect enterprises to act in a responsible manner with our data and we expect to be informed rapidly when a default to this principle happens.

Yes, we are living at the time of selfie and Social Networks but consumers still want to have control on the degree of confidentiality of their data, its lifespan and its scope: use and sharing on the internal or with third-parties.

Enterprises must understand that loosing consumers’ trust and loyalty is far more costly in terms of revenues than the benefits of fooling around with their data.

3. Authorizing a transaction may lead to its future automation *

With Big Data plus IoT, many transactions will be executed, without our knowledge, but with our tacit approval. Just think about the automatic renewal that we very often sign for just because it’s less of a hassle; like your website hosting, your domain name or any other online service.

Considering the impact and consequences (negative or positive) of our data uses, there is a need to develop a culture, or at least, a sensibility to permissions and the scope of data we share and the automations they imply and that we very often spontaneously authorize.

We must understand that a great deal of our digital relationships will be automated… very soon!

Maybe we should define an automation profile with lists of services, transactions and objects to which we assign different degrees of liberty (read, share and store data, automated transaction with or without budget limit, etc.); our profile would then dictate our evolution in the world to Big Data plus IoT tools and objects, like kind of a digital DNA.

In any case, today’s consumers must develop a Sense and Sensibility to Data and their Use.


Any data is linked to a context, if this context is transactional and require an authorization from the user, it is “possible” that this context and its related data may be shared in part or totally and that this transaction may be replicated in an automated fashion… in a very near future.

Data Security starts at the point of creation. If data are not created, then there is no need to store them, secure them, encrypt them, etc., and obviously, no risk of loosing them. It may sound evident but we too often forget it…

So, if you do not share sensitive data and if you restrict severely the services to which you grant transactional authorization, you should be out of reach of most trouble!


Denis Paul & Michel

N.B.  *For more information on the use and responsibility of data in the era of Big Data plus IoT, you may consult this page on this website « Inside Privacy »;  the Mauritius Declaration on the Internet of Things and the Mauritius Resolution on Big Data.

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