Little Data Makes Big Data More Powerful
You may not know this, but Big Data has a little brother. And together, Big and Little Data are far more powerful than Big Data alone.Big Data is what organizations know about people — be they customers, citizens, employees, or voters. Data is aggregated from a large number of sources, assembled into a massive data store, and analyzed for patterns.
You may not be aware, but Big Data has a counterpart - its little brother, Little Data. When Big and Little Data are combined, they become an even more powerful tool than Big Data on its own. Big Data is the collective knowledge organizations have about individuals, whether they be customers, citizens, employees, or voters. This data is compiled from multiple sources and stored in a large database, which is then used to identify and comprehend trends. These findings are used to generate more precise forecasts, develop more focused communications, and create more individualized services.
By using Big Data, banks are able to predict potential credit card fraud by analyzing billions of transactions, marketers can gain insight into customer sentiment by analyzing millions of social media interactions, and retailers can target promotions and offers by analyzing millions of purchases. In contrast, Little Data is what we know about ourselves.
By connecting with the cloud and sharing with friends, you get social recognition and motivation to keep improving your personal health. We now have a clearer understanding of what we buy, who we know, where we go, and how we spend our time—allowing us to make better choices in our lives.
Thanks to the combination of mobile, social, and cloud technologies, we have a better understanding of our own behavior than ever before. For example, mobile health devices like FitBit and Nike FuelBand sync with our smartphones to measure activity and provide feedback, encouragement, and rewards as we reach our goals. By connecting with the cloud and sharing with friends, we also get social recognition and motivation to keep improving our personal health. This gives us insight into what we buy, who we know, where we go, and how we spend our time, allowing us to make better choices in our lives.
Recent studies have indicated that people who employ tracking technologies to monitor their progress have a higher chance of achieving their weight and fitness goals. This same concept is also being applied to energy conservation.
Perspective: Big Data takes a broad view of a topic, while Little Data looks at a more narrow perspective.
Opower works with utilities to provide customers with insight into their electricity usage relative to their neighborhood's average. In terms of Big and Little Data, there are three main differences: Scope - Big Data is used to help organizations reach their objectives, while Little Data helps individuals reach their own goals. Accessibility - Big Data is mostly invisible, whereas Little Data makes it easier for individuals to interpret the data. Perspective - Big Data takes a wide-ranging look at the data, whereas Little Data takes a more localized point of view.
Organizations have control over Big Data, while individuals are in charge of Little Data. Companies need individuals to grant permission for them to access Big Data, just as individuals need organizations to give them permission to access Little Data. Without Little Data, Big Data can become a form of Big Brother, where ads follow us around on the web (known as retargeting) and retailers could use Big Data to make assumptions about people that they don’t even know. This can be an uncomfortable experience.
Without Big Data, Little Data is incomplete. Portable fitness devices have been criticized for not being able to provide users with tailored advice on how much activity they should get or how to sleep better. Thus, there needs to be a collaboration between individuals, health care providers, and tracking systems to provide guidance and treatment. For example, at the checkout of a grocery store, a large database can analyze what one has bought today and in the past, alongside what people with similar buying habits have bought, in order to provide personalized coupons in the time it takes to sign the credit card slip.
For example, you might get a notification that there is a special deal on items you buy regularly. Provide recommendations of alternatives and complementary products that you may not have considered. Show you your total spending to help you stay on budget and make informed decisions.
Instead of merely paging through a circular, you can use useful information to guide purchasing decisions. For instance, an assistant could inform you of specials on your favorite brands. Additionally, they could alert you to potential food allergens contained in certain products. By combining Big Data with Little Data, the shopping experience can become even more interesting.
As a shopper, I'm interested in how Nest leverages Big Data to understand customer loyalty and determine what other products people might be looking to add to their Thanksgiving shopping list. Furthermore, Nest could use Big Data to uncover patterns that could predict which foods I am most likely to enjoy based on the purchase histories of customers with similar interests. This could be thought of as the "Netflix of food."
By combining the Little Data from Nest devices with the Big Data from a utility company's power grid, customers can compare their own energy usage to that of others in the community. This sense of collective responsibility, along with the increased transparency and control, encourages people to be more willing to share information and get involved in energy-saving projects. This type of partnership between Big Data and Little Data is applicable to many industries, including travel, financial services, healthcare, and government.
Companies should look to create services based on Little Data that put customers in control. These services would give customers the ability to access the information they need when they need it, instead of them having to try to interpret what message to send and when. This would empower customers to make their own decisions, rather than companies trying to make them for them. This would require a shift in thinking and a new approach to customer engagement.
In order to achieve this, a new generation of Little Data scientists is necessary to figure out how to use data in a meaningful way.