I recently had the opportunity to mix with some really smart people at a Big Data Seminar. There is a lot of interest right now in the topic, althpough along side the interest there is a lot of Hype.
The best comment which cut through the hype and described the situation came from a Professor who said "Big Data is like teenage sex- everybody wants it, everybodys talking about it, but nobodys really sure whose doing it!"
My job was to present a Health Perspective and suggest what was missing from the current landscap that could be a target for further development.
Perhaps not surprisingly given my love of the strategic, my observations suggested that in terms of big data we have three axis along which any "big data" activity can be plotted.
Operational Vs Strategic Uses
Single Vs Multiple Locations
Personal Vs Population Perspective
In the three dimensional cube of the data we have applications which occupy all, bar two, areas within the domain of health.
The two remaining holy grails are Strategic Population Multiple based systems and Strategic Personal Multiple based systems. Both of these two domains should have systems but as yet these systems do not exist.
I can collect my own health data, record it in an app, but much more interesting stuff could be gleaned from multiple sources including analysis of unstructured, perhaps socially generated data.
Similarly if we are to know whether a citys health will be suffering in two years time our best guess might be supported by data gathered from across a wide range of media.
All in all, my brain was hurting, but there is definately something in this big data lark.