BII global mobile data traffic by deviceBII

The world is awash in data.

CIBC, a Canadian bank, predicts that information-generation growth will increase 50 times over the next decade.

IDC, a market research firm, similarly forecasts a 44-fold increase in data volumes between 2009 and 2020. Mobile is playing a large part in driving this explosion in data.

Apple upended the electronics business six years ago with the release of the iPhone. The iPhone ushered in an era when design, both of software and hardware, became the paramount concept in the tech world.

Could data be the paradigm that anchors the next revolution?

Suhail Doshi, CEO and co-founder of Mixpanel, thinks so. "Data is the next design. Products that don't consider data will flounder," he says.

"Big data" has become the catch-all buzzword to describe this phenomenon. Unfortunately, like many buzzwords, it is advanced by some as a cure-all, even as its exact meaning remains obscure. Poor customer relationship management? Big data! Need better advertising? Big data! Achy joints and trouble sleeping at night? Big data!

Part of the problem is that the term's meaning is vague. It doesn't really mean anything at all on its own. Big data is most commonly defined as data sets that meet three attributes, known as the three "Vs": volume, variety, and velocity. It's data that is generated quickly, comes in all shapes and sizes, and in great quantities.

But, as we can see, the three Vs themselves are simply adjectives and also somewhat vague.

But this is not to say that this enormous amount of data is valueless, far from it. Big data holds incredible potential across a range of industries, not just mobile.

In this report we'll define big data, outline mobile's connection to it, and point to some of its practical applications and pitfalls. Along the way, we'll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about big data and mobile.

What is Big Data?

BII Internet Device ShipmentsBIIInternet-connected mobile devices underpin the growth of data generation.

The term big data is clouded by the imprecise way it is often used in business conversations.

Duncan McCall, CEO [...]