Over the past year, media outlets have hammered home so often the significance of “Big Data”, that the term has gone all the way past buzz word to buzz kill. So of course, I don’t think I need to go on and on about the new and dramatically different role data is set to play in the lives of researchers, of practitioners and even in the lives of the general public.
The Internet of Things, the new digital revolution
I do, however, think it’s important to underscore how important a particular kind of Big Data is going to be. I’m talking about the data generated by the Internet of Things, which, in all seriousness, is set to change the digital landscape dramatically. The potential applications for the Internet of Things are almost limitless and could change sectors including healthcare, marketing, enegy-conservation and more. Most importantly, the Internet of Things is going to generate more data than the regular old internet ever thought possible. Where Human-to-Human networks will always be limited by the population, the Machine-to-machine networks have a virtually infinite potential.
Connected objects generate data and communicate over the Internet. The most recent example is obviously smart watches (like Apple Watch), but one can also think of many other applications of the smart electricity meter (EDF) to your Internet box (Orange) GPS pet collar (Mars Petcare) to your smartphone (which is not there?). Compliance with CNIL recommendations will ensure that the platform protects the anonymity of the data.
To give an idea of the magnitude of this new world, the impact of connected objects on the French economy is estimated at more than $ 100 billion according to some studies (e.g. Gartner and McKinsey). Whatever the exact figure, one can only be amazed by the magnitude of the potential impact of this market.
In this context, this Thursday, October 2, Stephane Richard, CEO of Orange, announced the launch of a Data Platform including ESSEC is the exclusive academic partner. By partnering with Platform DataVenue, companies undertake to make available their data objects connected on a platform that will facilitate the exchange and use. The technology architecture is developed by the leading telecommunications operator in France and the data is available to consortium members via an API (Application Programming Interface).
Getting Access this kind of Data is Invaluable to Researchers…
Data analysis is perhaps the most important component of most modern research, and it’s becoming more important every day. Indeed, for a theory to be accepted by the scientific community, it almost always has to be tested using real data. This helps to explain why more and more researchers need at least some mathematical, statistical or even computer science skills. And this goes for all kinds of researchers, including within History, Sociology and other less quantitative disciplines.
The trouble is, data isn’t always easy to come by and it can be very expensive for academics. Being able to access real and relevant data through this new Platform is going to be a big bonus for researchers in the ESSEC ecosystem. Most importantly, it will give our researchers a window into the real behaviors of consumers and better equip them to respond to the real needs of businesses.
In other words, where in the past, business research and practitioners in the field have had trouble seeing eye to eye, Big Data is bringing these two worlds together. At the end of the day, researchers will have the means to produce more relevant research, and companies will have the means to develop the most cutting edge tools and gain real insights from the data their consumers generate.
… and an incredible resource for young entrepreneurs
As I mentioned above, the Internet of Things has incredible value. It will therefore represent a new realm where start-ups will be able to grow and flourish. For the startup ecosystem at ESSEC, this new partnership is a fantastic opportunity to enter this huge market through the front door, and get access to databases and corporate networks. For their part, students are also invited to participate in an ideation competition. This is an opportunity for them to develop their innovative ideas by presenting a project idea.
In short, this project will allow the entire ESSEC ecosystem ESSEC to jump head first into the Internet of Things.