Too Much In­for­ma­tion?

From grapevine anal­y­sis to nanosatel­lites, data has no limit

Qantas - - Contents -

BBy 2020, more than 20 bil­lion con­nected de­vices world­wide will be pump­ing out data, ac­cord­ing to tech­nol­ogy re­search gi­ant Gart­ner. More bullish es­ti­mates push that num­ber to 50 bil­lion. Data is com­ing from ev­ery­where: from in­dus­trial ma­chin­ery, su­per­mar­ket trans­ac­tions, smart­phone apps and car-tyre-pres­sure sen­sors. Col­lected, or­gan­ised, an­a­lysed and pro­cessed, that mass of in­for­ma­tion is trans­form­ing how we shop, study, bank, nav­i­gate, de­lib­er­ate, ex­er­cise, watch, fly, eat and sleep.

Data is in ac­tion in ev­ery con­ceiv­able in­dus­try. It can as­sist a rail net­work to op­ti­mise its timeta­bles or a sand­wich com­pany to track trends in wrap fill­ings. A smart­phone app helps car­diac pa­tients on the path to re­cov­ery. Data and al­go­rithms, the foun­da­tion of ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, can re­move the drudge work for lawyers. Image-data anal­y­sis warns grape­grow­ers in real time that trou­ble is loom­ing in the vine­yard. Con­sumer data and ap­plied an­a­lyt­ics of­fer busi­nesses ob­jec­tive in­sights into what their cus­tomers want and the power to de­liver it with equal pre­ci­sion. One Aus­tralian startup is even head­ing into space to fa­cil­i­tate con­nec­tiv­ity for those bil­lions of data-beam­ing de­vices.

So what can we learn from the na­tion’s most in­no­va­tive data masters? A few share their wis­dom about putting data to work in brand-new ways.

il­lus­tra­tions By SUE DOEKSEN

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