Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Data Junkies: Straight to the Vein

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It seems that everyone is talking about #bigdata- I found the album cover for the Data Junkies haphazardly the other day and had to write a post that would make sense to use it with, so here it is.

I have been in the business of selling 'news' data for a long time, and often our customers come to us for big chunks of data from our news full text archive- all for a nice chunk of cash, so paying for data is nothing new for companies that have budgets for it. There have always been two types of clients that wanted the news archives, big companies with big budgets or students, with little to no budgets- lately there is a bunch of other companies small, medium, big, technology, finance, retail, social etc. that want access to news data for analytic/predicitive/trending proposes.

A couple weeks back i bookmarked this O'Reilly Radar article that looks at data market offerings from four providers- Infochimps, Factual, Windows Azure Data Marketplace, and DataMark. I spent some time looking at their datasets, the typical fees, the terms of use, etc. Below is a chart (which is clickable on the site) that compares the 4 providers they highlight.

There are a lot of companies working in this space, and the numbers - from the technology companies, to the data providers, to the service providers have ballooned over the last year. Even the WhiteHouse has gotten in front of the trend and this Thursday, "The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy will host a live webcast at 3 p.m. eastern time to outline how the government can “help big data” with its Big Data Research and Development Initiative" (Via GigaOM).

Technologists, data scientists, geek out on this stuff- but usability for general users that need data insights to make business decisions still needs to be addressed. Consumers can get excited but need tools to be able to do things with it- they need the tools and skills to make sense of the data- general skills for everyday business users (although there is also a big demand for data scientists). There are some companies working on that issue/opportunity usability. For example, ClearStory is interesting company in the space, trying to address the 'ease of consumption' for the regular user but also the IT department.

Image| Local Market in Cuenca, Ecuador- picture by me

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