Smartphones, big data, storage and you

When's the last time you looked up from your smartphone and spoke to the person sitting next to you?  For many of us, it's been awhile.

Mobile technology is having a huge impact on our lives and our society – along with changing the way we think about data and use the massive amounts of information generated by that technology. Experts have been taking note of the mobile phenomena and the impact on our culture. Recently, I came across an article in the March 2010 issue of Psychology Today about the impact technology is having on our culture and the advent of the iGeneration, or Internet Generation. This is the first generation to have all of the information ever generated by mankind instantly available to them! Our technology is changing the way we think and interact with each other, and it’s also providing new ways to store, retrieve and analyze the massive amount of information generated every year. 

Smartphones change the way we interact and access information

In traveling for business, I have been through a lot of different airports and cities all over the U.S. Airports and shuttle buses were once noisy places with excited people having friendly chats. That is changing. I’m noticing that people are not interacting with each other as much as they used to. Most folks traveling today have their noses buried in their smartphones as they access information over the Internet, check emails, read company documents or simply play games. At breakfast in a restaurant in Kentucky, I noticed the same thing. Most of the diners were completely focused on their smartphones, even while they were eating.  

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We are constantly accessing information from our mobile devices and becoming heavily reliant on the business and personal information we find on the Internet or access via the cloud. These activities generate massive amounts of data that needs to be stored and can be used for big data analysis.

Smartphones generate BIG data to solve BIG problems

In the latest issue of MIT’s Technology Review Magazine, David Talbot has an article about smartphones as the real generator of big data, and how leveraging that data can change our lives. Talbot indicates that there are now more than six BILLION smartphones in use out there generating data. Every text, every search, every phone call, every email and every picture or video you upload or share is stored. If you consider each smartphone user will generate about 60 gigabytes of data each year, times the six billion devices (not counting notebooks, notepads and other devices), we generate and store more than 335 exabytes of information every year with smartphones alone. That’s really BIG data. All that data needs to be stored somewhere, which means the storage industry is in a race to provide higher and higher densities of data storage devices at lower costs, and data deduplication technology is becoming even more important.

The good news is that data we create via smartphones can be put to good use. As Talbot mentions in his article, smartphone usage patterns helped researchers in Africa determine where malaria outbreaks were occurring and where the affected people went. In this manner, researchers could determine where to best distribute medicines more efficiently. This is a great example of how big data analysis can be put to good use and have a positive impact on humanity. Soon, as mobile devices are used more frequently to purchase goods and services, the information generated will be mined to determine where you go to shop, what your interests are and even what brand of coffee you like, so advertisers and others can pinpoint your wants and desires. Now that’s what I call intelligent storage networking – making use of big data storage to mine that information.

I love my smartphone. It helps me with everything I do by enabling instant access to all my work and information, which is stored in various clouds. Our use of personal information devices will continue to increase, and hopefully we’ll find even better ways to put all that mobile data generation to good use.

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