October 2017

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Page 80 of 153

Data analytics is transforming business, your job, and the mobility industry. You need to prepare for a future world of data-driven decisions. Here are three basic concepts that you must understand to start on this trans- formational journey. 1. WHAT IS BIG DATA, ANYWAY? You hear and see the buzzwords "big data" every- where today—but what exactly is it? Understanding this concept is essential to recognizing its impact on your company and your work. The use of the word "big" may lead you to think that the term big data represents the "volume" of data. But because this data often can be collected and processed quickly from a variety of nontradi - tional sources, it is also about the data's "variety" and "velocity." Traditional data is structured and can be extracted from databases and easily displayed in rows and col - umns to illustrate relationships between items. Much of today's data, however, is unstructured and cannot be entered cleanly into traditional databases. Such data is collected from many sources, such as emails, documents, social media, consumer behavior on e-commerce sites, photos, videos, audio recordings, web pages, and feedback from sensors, to name a few. Today's "variety" of big data is vast—it is not limited to the traditional data sets of yesterday. Another dimension of big data is its "velocity," which is the speed with which data is generated, processed, and communicated. This can occur nearly simultaneously with creation of the data. Think about the last time you swiped your credit card. How fast was the data processed in order for your purchase to be approved? Real-time data allows organizations to respond quickly. Have you noticed how websites you visit display information that is tailored to your previous browsing history? Companies monitoring social media likewise can quickly identify customer satisfaction or dissatis - faction and take swift action. Real-time data also helps with timely identification of emerging trends and new opportunities. These three V's (volume, variety, and velocity) are the typical factors used to define big data, and the analysis of such data today is possible thanks in part to new ways of storing and querying the data. In place of the once customary approach whereby organizations had their own physical servers on which all their data resided, they now can utilize a network of servers owned and managed by others to store and query data. Such a network of servers is commonly referred to as the "cloud." Unlike the private server approach of yesterday, today's larger, more sophisticated server networks can better handle big data, and do so at a significantly lower cost, enabling huge amounts of data to be stored for analysis. The tools for such analyses also are becoming increasingly sophisticated. With big data's great volume, variety, and velocity, traditional means of analysis won't work. The result is new and improved statistical and computing methodologies and tech - niques that include algorithms, artificial intelligence, and text mining. These tools, aided by the aforemen- tioned improved aggregation and storage capabilities, are transforming businesses through data analytics. Content for this article is from Worldwide ERC ® 's new interactive online course, "Exploring Data Analytics for Mobility," which provides a strong foundation for understanding the importance of data analytics with examples and activities for its application to mobility. See Page 95 for more course information and the promo code to receive a registration discount.

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