Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The age of the machines

In August, 2015 the world had 4.4 zettabytes of data. That is equal to 4.4 trillion gigabytes. And only 0.5% of this data is analysed. So much of data is collected on a day-to-day basis, but much of it just sits somewhere without being attended to. The data deluge will get worse. By 2017, we will be having 44 zettabytes of data. So what do you with this deluge. For an individual or a small company, this doesn’t make a difference. At least for now. But the need for a competitive advantage will force everyone on this planet to depend on Analytics. This will be made possible by Data Analytics tools. When useful data is analysed, we get insights about us, our companies, our nations and other things. Co-relations can be made to detect hidden patterns within data and we will also further be able to predict the cause of a particular situation.

We are all creatures of limitations. There is a finite amount of thinking that we can do or what can be observed through our senses. Hence we need machines. They augment our senses and thus transcend some of our limitations. Another reason why we can use machines is because they are fast and uncannily accurate. But machines do break down. But they do not require food or water. They are also not social animals. They also can be operated in a 24 by 7 schedule. They do not require sleep. All they require is a constant supply of electricity. Now, I’m not talking about mechanical machines (like the analog watch). In this new age, a majority of machines will be digital. We are witnessing the rise of the machines in this age.

When we talk of technology, there are 2 aspects of it :

  • How do they work ?
  • Where can it be applied ?

The first aspect is quite complex. With hardware and software exploding everyday, we have invented so many myriad of tools and techniques to make them work. There are infrastructure related issues (means how does the machine perform in a particular foundation). Then there are the applications which are connected to this massive infrastructure through platforms. There are many platforms out there, not necessarily inter-operable. When a new product comes to the market, the initial curiosity can be intriguing. If this product succeeds by demonstrating its prowess, the market votes up for it. If this product promises to plug in a need hole, then it may be a winner.

However, the important thing about technology is not how it works – but where it is applied. What problem does it solve ? How does that affect the bottom line ? As humans we are always looking at solutions to problems. If a product or a service demonstrates this successfully, we don’t mind opening our wallet. For every new product there are features and limitations. If the benefits outweigh the costs, it’s a winner. Some of them go on to become viral. One of the greatest drawbacks of human beings is that we think linearly. Whereas we can find a lot of people / companies growing at an exponential rate. If you are a startup, this is the mindset that you should be having. But while you are at it, do not forget to smell the roses along the way. Remember that we have reached here with support from God, and there is no reason not to say ‘Hello’ to him once in a while. Because he is enjoying the show as much as you are.

Good luck,


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