As industrial technology continues to advance, the terms “big data” and the Industrial Internet of Things, or “IoT,” are increasingly becoming buzzwords among professionals — even those in the construction and Heavy Building Materials industries. However, while the two are interrelated, there are several key differences that should be understood between these two technology trends.
What is big data?
As its name suggests, big data represents massive amounts of data — both structured and unstructured — that a business collects on a day-to-day basis. However, it’s not the amount or volume of gathered data that’s important; it’s what organizations do with that data and how they transform it into insightful information to make better, strategic business decisions. This is where progress occurs.
In addition to the quantity of data — the facts and figures that are processed and organized to comprise information — big data also represents the variety of sources for that data, such as social media, enterprise content, and mobile devices, among others. Knowing where the data comes from helps industry professionals better understand their audience and its needs.
Additionally, when it comes to big data, quality supersedes quantity. In other words, it doesn’t matter how much data you have, but rather what you do with it. This analysis component is vital to the essence and purpose of big data. These extremely large data sets are used to computationally analyze the data collected to reveal patterns, trends, and associations related to human behavior and interactions.
Why is big data important for the construction industry?
When big data is properly understood and optimized, teams can take data from any source and analyze it to find answers that enable key decisions; such as cost reductions, time reductions, new product development, and safer operations, among others.
Big data has made even bigger strides in recent years within the construction industry, most notably in the following areas:
- Keeping track of time
- Improving management
- Creating more accurate budget estimates
- Decreasing project site safety risks
- Empowering more strategic business decisions
And according to a recent Forbes article, construction firms are beginning to move into areas such as real-time, cloud-powered analytics of large and unstructured datasets. These moves have the potential to redefine the traditionally fraught relationships between the interested parties, like that between architects, engineers, and owners who all have differing desires when it comes to a job site.
Read Part 2 of this topic where we’ll cover the IoT and why it’s important for industry professionals to not only understand it but to also embrace it.