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July 14, 2017
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Data Is Capital – Let’s Make It Rain

On Tuesday I blogged about Pinsight Media’s DataWorks Summit keynote. Pinsight leverages Hortonworks to ingest over 60 terabytes of data coming from 65 million devices across multiple mobile network operators. This network-level data provides right-time advertising to consumers.

What’s most interesting about Pinsight’s use case is that the data is not their own, yet they use it as a raw material, like a refinery uses crude oil. Data is their business (read the case study here).

One of my favorite quotes from Summit was on Day 3 (watch the video) when Paul Sonderegger, Big Data Strategist at Oracle, presented Data Capital in the 21st Century. Paul talked about Edmund Halley, whose statistical analysis about age-of-death allowed the British government to accurately price annuities back in the 1690s. “Data fulfills the literal economic textbook definition of capital,” Paul said. “Data capital is the recorded information necessary to produce a good or service.”

Prescient is another great example of a company using data to produce a good or service. It’s a global risk management company that provides full-spectrum intelligence solutions to corporate, federal, and international clients. The company addresses complex global security challenges, conducts investigations, and even provides traveler risk management by pulling from 49,000 different data sources – none of which they own (read the case study here).

Further along in Paul’s keynote, he argued “Data…is not merely a record of what happened. It is raw material for creating new digital products, services, and ways of working.”

What Pinsight, Prescient, and Halley all have in common is that their data is not their own. But whereas Halley used a primitive spreadsheet to track death from plague, pox, scurvy, and worms, companies like Pinsight and Prescient use Connected Data Platforms to track millions of events and draw out insights in real-time, and to create new products, services, and ways of working.

Paul concluded his keynote with, “Halley’s life table became the most important reference point for not just the life annuities business, but the emerging life insurance business for 100 years. The work that you are doing today in turning observations into new capabilities can have that kind of impact.”

If data is the new oil, then Hortonworks is the oil derrick. It’s exciting to see how many new products and services our customers are creating, across all industries, from their data and from other people’s data. It’s exciting to see how many different ways our products are used. And it’s exciting to know the work being done today will have a lasting impact, long after we die from plague, pox, scurvy, or worms.

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