Big Data and Blockchain Analytics - Is that a Perfect Match?
Big data is the hottest word in the world of enterprise technology today, allowing businesses all over the world to make use of ground-breaking insights in real time for better performance. The power of big data is such that governments, organizations, and even small to medium-sized businesses have something to benefit from just by dipping into the vast resource pool that big data offers. It is therefore not a very big surprise when you see companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, Baidu, etc. hedge their bets on Deep Learning which is what it is because of the large data sets obtained from big data.
Today data is being generated in large quantities from every place imaginable - from your smartphones to your health bands, your social activity, and even your smart clothes. By 2020, every human being will generate close to 1.7mb data per second, leading to a total worldwide data generation amount of 44 trillion GB! And if that is not enough, the other great tech disruptor of our times - Blockchain technology, can further push big data to great heights and lend its usage to scenarios which we can't even think of today.
What is Blockchain?
The blockchain revolution is in full swing, powered by its poster boy - Cryptocurrency (such as Bitcoin). Words such as "decentralized" and "crypto" have made their way into the common man's lexicon and show no signs of abating. Google search results for the word "Blockchain" has increased by 250% in 2018 alone! But Blockchain is one of those few technologies which are well worth the hype.
In the simplest of terms, a block is considered as a record of a new transaction/input (such as cryptocurrency information, medical data, user data, financial information, etc.) As each block is completed, its added to a chain, creating a blockchain. It is important to remember that all previous information stored in the blocks cannot be adjusted, changed, or edited. The information contained in a blockchain is decentralized, meaning its publicly available. But then the question arises - if the data is decentralized, how is it more secure? In many ways, that is the beauty of the Blockchain construct. This is because no single entity can control or verify the information contained in a blockchain. Many entities (in this case computers) connected to the blockchain network must agree to the transaction for the information to pass through. In short, Blockchain is immutable, secured by cryptography, and trustless (banks work on a system of trust).
For businesses, blockchain has many inherent benefits. Prior to this technology, there was no way to validate and secure ownership of digital assets in a trustless, secure manner. Blockchains can -
- Leverage your computing ecosystem to perform faster processes with a higher trust level
- Reduce the cost and complexity of your cross-enterprise business efforts
- Help in creating new, secure transactional and information-sharing channels
- Free up capital and reducing inefficiencies
- Create cost-efficient channels where all things of value can be tracked and traded easily
Blockchain Analytics and Big Data - The Future of Business Process
Blockchain brings so much value that almost every industry on the planet has started questioning whether to integrate it into its processes or not. Most do not want to miss out on the next "big thing", while many are still apprehensive when they hear about words such as "decentralized" and "open". From banking to the ride-hailing industry, to even messaging apps, blockchain is finding gradual acceptance.
When it comes to the growing interest in the intersection of big data and blockchain, then it is the overall improvement of the data being captured, and the quick transfer of said data which is causing quite a stir. Blockchains will give businesses to confidently identify the integrity of the data being generated. Consensus-driven timestamping, proper audit trails and immutable entries will all become better as blockchain starts becoming more mainstream.
PwC has already started testing a blockchain analytics tool to trace digital tokens after their launch. This can help companies safeguard their tokens against risk or being misused for laundering money and other crimes.
The potent combination of big data and blockchain can also see gradual acceptance in the field of healthcare, as this would allow healthcare providers to share records with the patients, their physicians, insurance providers, justice departments, employers, etc. easily and securely. Since the healthcare industry literally functions based on how data is generated and transferred from one place to another, this can lead to -
- Better patient follow-up between different healthcare providers
- Standardized medical formats
- A medical record and history which cannot be altered
- A completely secure patient history
What Blockchain Can Do for Big Data - 3 Ways in Which the Data Landscape is Changing
What makes blockchain an irresistible offering for data scientists is the power it holds against more traditional databases. The perfect database would be unalterable, historized by nature, and would not let anyone or anything corrupt or modify its registers. Blockchain makes this possible. Here we discuss 3 ways in which blockchain is disrupting big data analytics -
Accessibility to Decentralized Tools
One of the main barriers in front of integrating big data analytics into existing infrastructure is the high cost associated with it. Until recently, big data was something only large corporations could use and leverage for their performance. But with the advent of subscription-based cloud analytics software and BI tools, this has changed for the better. Today, blockchain-based tools aim to expand this cost-efficient accessibility to data analytics tools by decentralizing the technology required.
Endor is a startup working with multinational enterprises to expand their predictive analytics offerings. Recently, they announced a blockchain protocol which is being regarded by many as the "Google" of predictive analytics. It clubs AI and analytics in a seamless manner so that even normal users can ask simple questions to get accurate predictions. The company further plans to bring together data providers, developers, and users to nurture a predictive analytics ecosystem built around blockchain technology. By relying on such decentralized tools, the cost of using predictive and big data analytics is going to go down.
New Forms of Data Monetization
Data is the single most valuable commodity in the modern world and combining blockchain and big data together can democratize the way data analytics is shared and monetized by completely removing the middleman. This, in turn, would lead to the consumers gaining stronger negotiation powers over businesses, while allowing them to control which business has access to their data and which does not.
Blockchain can also give rise to new forms of data monetization because of the following changes it brings to the table -
- All businesses involved in a transaction would have access to the same quantity and quality of data. This, in turn, would accelerate data acquisition, sharing, the quality of data and data analytics.
- All transactions will be registered and kept on a single file, providing a complete overview of the transactions while eliminating the requirement for multiple powerful computer systems.
- Individuals will be able to control and manage their data without depending on a third party, therefore opening up the market.
Platforms such as Wibson are already encouraging data owners to share their data information with data consumers while getting paid to do so. Wibson's marketplace allows users to leverage their infrastructure to monetize their anonymous private information while being supported through a token-based economy. Because of the transparency afforded by blockchain, sellers can see how their information is being used even after the transaction has taken place.
Fluent Data Exchange
Most large organizations leverage the amount of data they have in order to sell this data to others. In the case where your business has the latest and best analytics tool in the market, it will not be worth anything unless you have the data to feed into it. This costly access denies small businesses and research groups to work with large volumes of data, while also greatly stifling the way this data is exchanged.
To solve such issues, data exchange platforms such as Dock are enabling working professionals to manage their job profiles under a single platform. Instead of working and sifting through multiple profiles on multiple job sites, in this case, headhunters can hunt through a single repository of validated, timely, and up to date information. Dock also helps consolidate certifications and other experiences gained from different platforms while storing all this data on the blockchain, allowing professionals to create in-depth profiles. According to Forrester, the research group, close to 73 percent of enterprise data goes unused for data analytics. But blockchain can help bring down these boundaries by making data exchange more secure and easy, without any major infrastructural costs associated with it.
Blockchain and Big Data-Revolutionary, but Limited?
It is quite easy for businesses to get sucked into the hype created by blockchain technologies without understanding the current practical limitations of this nascent technology. The blockchain is not the most suitable replacement, especially in establishments where transactional malleability and centralization are extremely important. One such example can be in the case where organizations still rely heavily on data entry. Any mistakes caused due to human errors will forever carry along in the blockchain, and new authorizations will have to be created just to oversee these permissions.
The supporting tech around blockchain will still take time to evolve, as will the massive number of potential applications and the technologies they rely on. With this future growth, consumers will also become more knowledgeable and helpful in fostering a community dedicated to developing such blockchain protocols. But that day, unfortunately, is still quite some time away.
Embrace the Future of Blockchain and Big Data with Flatworld Solutions
Rapid advancements are being made on a daily basis when it comes to new blockchain technologies, ushering in new developments in the big data analytics field. As more people start using blockchain-driven services, analytics also must evolve to be able to generate high-quality insights from the data available.
Flatworld offers high-quality data science services where leading technologies are regularly theorized and tested upon so as to stay at the cutting-edge of big data. To know more about our services, contact us now!