Data becomes information. Information adds value if used properly to align business practices, streamline processes with net result of increased sales & profit and reduced costs.
Reports have existed for a very long time. They report on the past. Business typically managed the business in the rear view mirror.
Red shirts seems to be selling in region B, while White shirts are selling in Region C, while Yellow shirts are not selling anywhere. Let's drop Yellow from the product line, increase Red & White shirt production. Seems Fred had highest sales, Bob had lowest. Lots of useful information of the past.
Next, we accumulated that data into Cubes for faster slice and dice. Lots of data transformation, business rules and data ingestion. Costs a lot, tough to maintain, can't store all data.
Next, Big Data provides data lake to store all data. Still need to cleanse, transform and prepare data for consumption. Handles a lot of prior issues, and adds some problems as well.
Machine learning has been around for a while also. People have been creating "models" to predict future probability based on past data. I know the banks used this in the mid 1990's to score credit applications. Advances in technology, lower costs and software availability have proliferated into mass consumption. Schools and University's provide courses so people can get up to speed quickly.
Artificial Intelligence is a higher level of all this. Massive data, crunching numbers to provide easy access to important information at the snap of a finger. It's widely available on smart phones.
Internet of Things
Internet of Things allows remote sensors to capture and relay information back to central hub for storage, processing, analysis in real time. Our planet is in the process of becoming interconnected. Besides not have standard protocols, guaranteed security and widely available programmer base, there are other things to consider like how long is the battery life of a device, how do we apply software patches and upgrade Hardware & Software over time.
Quantum Computing is a hot topic. Scientist attempt to leverage the peculiar behavior of quantum physics and apply to technology. Our entire computing system is based on binary numbers of zeros and ones, when combined, they form a language which computers can interpret. Quantum bits allow greater flexibility where a state may be 0, 1 or some where in between. This added feature allows faster computation across wider scenarios and can potentially reduce computation time to solve difficult problems. Theoretically, this technology will be able to crack any encryption known today and poses security risks perhaps. The machines are very expensive, difficult to maintain cold environments and the knowledge base is centralized to advanced level mathematicians, physicists and scientist. The quantum bit has bizarre properties, such as instantaneous communication with paired bits across great distances. Another behavior is not knowing the state of a particular bit until we ask the bit what its state is. This tech has great potential.
With all that said, the newest feature that has a lot of attention right now is the Block Chain. Why is it hot? Because it lays the framework plumbing technology foundation across a variety of sectors. It has potential to radically alter existing processes such as banking, healthcare, election systems, stock market transactions, clearing house middlemen, just about anything. What is unique about Block Chain?
It's a distributed ledger. Transactions are written, never removed. Each transaction has a Digital Signature, basically a hashed key of the prior transaction, along with current key. As the transaction is sent out, the Digital Signature is validated and record is recorded across a distributed data store and record is assumed to be valid because it passes the rules engine and the group agrees the transaction to be valid. Block Chain can handle any "asset". Assets can be people, things, events, you name it.
The transaction could be anything. We agree to give x person 10 units of y. Transaction sent. Authenticated & distributed & recorded. Audit trail agrees. Done deal.
It could also be stock purchases. ABC agrees to sell 10 shares of Y Stock to DEF at $10 per share on 10/01/2017. Transaction sent, authenticated, distributed, recorded. Done deal. No batch processing. No hidden fees. No hold up in time. No fraud. No corruption.
Speaking of fraud, imagine an Election process that wrote votes to the Block Chain. Secure, record-able, transparent if need be, audit trail. Completely transparent with documented audit trail.
This Block Chain technology could not only disrupt just about every business model today, it could also replace our paper money. Imagine that. Without paper money, what's the need for traditional banks. Just sent money across the Block Chain, pay the nominal fees, transaction is secure, done deal. Imagine all the available real estate with empty banks potentially.
In my estimation, sure reporting is great. Insights are wonderful. AI to ease the flow of life, that's tremendous, although Artificial General Intelligence may not happen for a while, if at all, can read my post on that topic here. IoT can link the worlds together digitally. Block Chain has the most potential to radically alter the life here on planet Earth.
What's the holdup from widespread adoption? My estimation is getting the Block Chain to scale up. As in millions of transactions a second across a distributed network across the planet. Maybe that new underwater pipeline between North America and Europe could help facilitate that. Once Block Chain scales, you could see widespread adoption across a variety of sectors, including all the big boys in every sector.
Technology geeks will eventually run the World's digital plumbing via Block Chain and it will have the biggest impact in the near future.
And so it goes~!