Last May, at the inaugural IWA World Congress on Water, Climate and Energy held at the impressive new Convention Centre in Dublin, I presented a keynote address on big data analytics and its impact on the water industry. Since then, I have received a number of requests for a transcript of the presentation:
Over the last several years, I have been introduced to a realm of science and technology that many of us in the water industry don’t know much about – and really should pay closer attention to. In fact, it is a field of new science that barely has a name. Let’s just call it “big data analytics;” and let’s focus on how it can make our cities “smarter.”
New Science without a Name
It’s interesting that when The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI) surveyed data management professionals on this topic in May 2011, 7% of respondents hadn’t “seen or heard of anything resembling big data analytics” – they knew nothing about it. Most respondents (65%) didn’t have a name for it but generally understood its meaning. The remaining 28% (roughly a quarter) both understood the concept and had named it – most calling it “big data analytics” but including names as well, like “advanced” analytics, “discovery” analytics, or “exploratory” analytics.
And while twenty years ago, I/T professionals used to struggle with the cost of data storage and management, today the storage of massive amounts of data is virtually free, providing for increasingly sophisticated approaches to mining it, analyzing it, discovering relationships within it, and ultimately utilizing it to predict the behavior of the complex systems (and systems of systems) it represents. This is an emerging technology which will no doubt touch every aspect of our lives (and already has if you shop with a credit card or over the internet). But for our purposes it’s the management of . . . [Click to view the full PDF]