Making Use of Unstructured Data
Are you familiar with the myth that we only use 10% of our brains? We know this is not actually the case, but that has not stopped the production of movies like Luc Besson’s Lucy. The premise is that chemical compounds combined in the right order increase our ability to use a higher percentage of brain power. If everyday people could use that extra 90% of their brains, they would develop super-photographic memories or cool capabilities like levitation and telekinesis.
We know this is not the case. The idea is so wrong it is almost laughable, according to neurologist Barry Gordon at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore. He goes on to say that we use almost every part of our brain all the time.
Sadly, when it comes to data, this is not the case. Imagine what we could do if used data the way Dr. Gordon says we use our brains.
While the idea of “unlocking our full potential” is based in neurology science fiction, it does hold weight when it comes to data usage. According to projections from IDC, 80% of worldwide data will be unstructured by 2025. While unstructured data is not impossible to use, it does pose some unique challenges that prevent companies from achieving their full potential.
There are two main kinds of unstructured data:
- Text files: Word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, emails
- Social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
- Website: YouTube, Instagram, photo-sharing
- Mobile-data: Text messages, locations
- Media: MP3, digital photos, audio and video files
- Satellite imagery: Weather data, land forms
- Scientific data: Oil and gas exploration, space exploration, atmospheric data
- Digital surveillance: surveillance photos and videos
- Sensor data: traffic, weather, oceanographic sensors
Structured data, the concrete information volunteered by consumers, is not enough to paint a full picture of a company’s data. Corporations are trying to determine if they should invest in unstructured analytics and if both kinds of data can be used together.
Unstructured data poses the possibility of analyzing digital communications for compliance, tracking customer conversations in social media, and better marketing products through increased intelligence.
While structured data analytics is a mature process, unstructured data analytics is a developing industry with a lot of newer, less tried-and-true technology. Data scientists and others will claim that Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning can resolve this. Nothing can outdo the human mind and by combining an expert’s knowledge with technology, we can provide an easy-to-use interface that becomes increasingly accurate over time.
If you knew there was a huge portion of untapped gray matter in your brain, that it could revolutionize your life, you would want to use it, right? This is a myth, but using 100% of our data can be a reality! It’s time to make a change.