Big data is the term given to very large or complex sets of data which are difficult to analyse. With six billion smartphones on the planet and half of the world’s population online, a colossal amount of this data is produced every second. For businesses, much of this information is valuable because it provides honest insight into customers’ browsing or buying habits.
Whether the consumer knows it or not, big data is also the magic behind many new mobility services. Late last year, Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel stated that ‘data is the new oil’. And this was not total hyperbole. Driverless cars, rigged with a regiment of sensors and microprocessors, will be roaming powerplants of data. Indeed, Intel estimates the amount of data created in 1.5 hours of driving (the average amount of time a person spends in their car daily) to be four terabytes.
Perhaps some arithmetic can put this into perspective. In 2016, worldwide internet traffic totalled 1.2 million terabytes. In the same year, 88.1 million cars were sold. So, if driverless cars constituted 1% of all cars sold, this would be 88,100 units in 2016. With each of these generating four terabytes every day, this amounts to 1.28 million terabytes of data a year - more than the entire web traffic of 2016. As such, there is an urgent demand for services to meet this dramatic influx of data.