Tagged With big data

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Public transport users know the pain. You get to the station, stand in your usual spot on the platform and when the train rolls in, there aren't any seats in the carriages close to you. But by using some sensors that weigh the carriages, Sydney trains will be able to let you know which carriages have the fewest people, helping you find a seat for the long commute.

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Lots of discussions about complex topics start with the premise that there are two types of people. That's where Symantec's Chief Technology Officer Hugh Thompson began his discussion on the challenges facing the security industry. He began his entertaining security keynote at this year's CeBIT event in Sydney telling the story of a bird that flew into a commercial aircraft as the plane was being loaded by ground staff. It was trapped in the passenger cabin, only becoming known when the trans-Atlantic flight was in the air. The reactions to the story are indicative, he said, about differing attitudes to security risks.

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I recently attended a press and analyst summit run by UK events company NetEvents. The event, held in San Jose this year, introduced me to a few companies I’d not come across before that offer interesting products and services. Here are five I think are worth keeping an eye on.

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Vizio recently got in trouble for collecting data on TV customers who opted out. This brings up an interesting question: Can my TV collect and share my data? Yep, the option is hidden in the settings of most smart TVs as "viewing information" or "internet-based advertising". If you don't want to be tracked, opt out.

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Knowledge is power. So if data equates to knowledge, having a lot of it will naturally allow us to make better decisions that will lead to wealth and success, right? Certainly many organisations are using big data to bolster revenue and bring about overall improvements. But big data isn't the silver bullet to business woes and you can still make bad decisions even with all the right information at your fingertips. We take a look at how big data can lead to bad decisions.

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Big data is not a new concept. It has been used in business for decades. The reason it's becoming a buzz word now is because companies are beginning to understand that if they capture all the data that is coming into their business, they can apply analytics and get significant value from it.

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Information is a valuable asset for businesses as it helps them make well-informed decisions. Fantastic! Data is being generated at an unprecedented rate and organisations are hording it like there's no tomorrow, creating mammoth data sets we call big data. But is big data really helping these companies or is it just complicating the decision-making process? We find out.

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The "Internet of Things" (IoT) is the new darling of the technology world thanks to our love of being tethered to our electronic devices. Watches, fridges and even dog collars are connected to the internet these days and these devices are generating an unrelenting wave of data. This has inevitably led to some privacy concerns over how the data is collected and used. How is one of the world's biggest cloud companies dealing with this IoT conundrum? We find out.

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Big data gets a lot of attention from media, industry and government. Companies and labs generate massive amounts of data associated with everything from weather to cell phone usage to medical records, and each data set may involve hundreds of variables. How does one begin to make sense of it all? The answer lies in "rubber sheet" geometry.

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With the Senate passing the Federal Government's data retention bill last week, there has been a great deal of discussion of "metadata", what it is and whether the government ought to have access to it. However, metadata is just the tip of the data iceberg. The debate about data retention is only just beginning, and the outcome could touch on many aspects of our behaviour and society at large.