Whether it’s in the boardroom, on the playing field, in a warehouse or manufacturing plant, or at our very fingertips, an unprecedented surge in new technology is creating a similar surge in how technology impacts our lives.

Data boom

At the core of these changes is data in quantities unheard of even a few years ago. These quantities of data are catalyzing enormous changes in how companies manage the present and plan for the future. This is because big data isn’t just about quantity; it’s about the timeliness as well as the breadth of data.

Analyzing these massive quantities of data in real time allows companies to react to rapid changes in demand for a product or the functionality of a physical asset like a turbine, or how an individual thinks or feels about an experience or interaction, as it is happening. That’s literally game-changing in every sense of the term.

"An IoT world is one in which everything can become a connected, intelligent device that is both a source of big data as well as...the point where analysis becomes action." 

But big data would hardly be as big as it is today if it were not for another hugely important trend, the shift from on-premise computing to the cloud. Turning traditional computational and storage functionality into a cloud service has placed an almost inexhaustible set of resources at the disposal of companies and individuals alike.

What we’ve gained

The result is access to an almost infinitely elastic IT capacity and connectivity that has become the staging ground for services, all of which leverage big data and big analytics. This access has opened up unheard-of opportunities.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of those opportunities. An IoT world is one in which everything can become a connected, intelligent device that is both a source of big data as well as, in many cases, the point where analysis becomes action. A physical asset—a turbine, a thermostat, a piece of sports equipment—is no longer an inert object but a living, functional thing that is connected and can both collect data and then respond or change as needed based on an analysis of the device’s data.

Protecting gains

The fact that IoT needs the cloud and big data is obvious. A manufacturing plant full of machines or a football field full of athletes could never become a source of data and a staging ground for new functionality were it not for the ability to interconnect resources in the many-to-many, fully elastic way that exemplifies cloud functionality.

But big data, IoT, and the cloud don’t operate in a vacuum, and their growing importance has opened up a new world of uncertainty. Without a strong info-security regime, companies and their customers are more vulnerable to identity theft and threats such as malware and denial of service attacks than ever before. This places info-security at the nexus of change for all enterprise technology, and makes its deployment a critical component of any technological and business change in the 21st century.

The brave new world of big data, analytics, IoT, cloud and cyber-security is poised to bring new levels of functionality, and new levels of risk and opportunity, to an ever-changing business environment. While we can’t necessarily predict where these new technologies will take us, we know, fundamentally, that our lives, our leisure and our work will never be the same.