What’s Cisco’s Big Deal with Big Data?

by Jenn Cano on September 17, 2012

big dataThe world we live in today is one of intense digital information that is expanding at a rate of 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day!   Don’t believe me?  Just think about this… YouTube alone has 60 hours of new video data uploaded every minute.  There are over 700,000 messages being delivered on Facebook every minute, and 175,000 Tweets are sent on Twitter every 60 seconds.  Now that’s a lot of data, but it doesn’t even account for the majority of the world’s data. In fact 90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years alone!  It’s no wonder they call this phenomenon “Big Data”. 

Daily we generate and consume vast amounts of data as we check apps on our phones, play games, shop online, book flights, ship packages, share content, and more.  Data is generated from almost everything we do these days; from sensors used to gather climate information, to purchase transaction records, or even cell phone GPS signals just to name a few.  “Just to give you a sense of that volume,” says Ariella Sumits, a senior analyst at Cisco, “if you look at the total amount of traffic that has crossed IP networks globally to date, since 1984, it’s about 1.2 zetabytes. So, in 2016, the amount of traffic that crossed networks just in that year will exceed everything that’s crossed the networks to date.”  But what is the big deal with all this data, and why is Cisco so stuck on the buzz words, “Big Data”?

Cisco believes that big data will not only be able to help companies, but entire industries.  The problem for most companies is they are not equipped to deal with the data effectively. They are amassing data faster than then have the technology or know how to analyze it.   And when data is locked inside any individual company’s database, the entire industry suffers.

Cisco’s idea is to create vast data repositories, a central data dumping ground if you will.  Cisco believes the creation of these repositories would spawn innovation across entire ecosystems.  They envision large companies or infomediaries that would create easy access to data and resources, where analyses can be conducted and acted upon in real time.  The term infomediary was coined by John Hagel in his 1996 article entitled "The Coming Battle for Customer Information" in the Harvard Business Review.  The concept was formed from a combination of the words information and intermediary, where an infomediary is a Web site or company that gathers and organizes large amounts of data and acts as an intermediary between those who want the information and those who supply the information.

Cisco is getting ready to release to the public a new whitepaper called “Unlocking Value in the Fragmented World of Big Data Analytics: How Information Infomediaries Will Create a New Data Ecosystem.”  In the white paper Cisco will address the solution of Infomediaries who will take care of the heavy lifting of aggregating, standardizing, packaging, securing and processing data from a variety of sources. It’s much like what is already in place for big industries like credit card processing and banking, where infomediaries provide centralized services to everyone in the industry. 

So, why the big push for big data ecosystems by Cisco?  Well, of course these Information Infomediaries will need high powered lightening fast networks to process all the big data in real-time.  That’s where Cisco’s got skin in the game.  In fact, the network is in some ways what provides the most value to Cisco’s proposition given the fast-growing collection of data marketplaces and cloud-based big data services that already make it easier to access resources and analyze data sets. 

Merril Lynch estimates that big data is a $100 billion market opportunity, and the growing area is generating incredible buzz from academics and business leaders alike.  If Cisco gets its way, it could very well be through Cisco hardware and services that these infomediaries operate and centralized services are processed.  And when you think about a potentially $100 billion industry, Cisco knows that’s no chump change!

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Topics: Cisco Technology, Cisco, Big Data

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