The next “BIG” thing in technology

Technology is often creating new buzz words. The latest to hit the tech world is “big data”

IBM estimates that 90 per cent of the data in the world today has been created in the past two years. The explosion in popularity of smartphones has helped fuel this growth, with sites and services such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter helping to create more and more online data.

Companies are continually gathering information about their customers which added to growth in ecommerce, which generates purchase records, digital images, IT logs, GPS signal data and videos, and you aren’t even coming close to the concept that is big data. It’s a massive, multistructured pool of information which could be invaluable if you know what to do with it.

It does however differ from traditional “structured data” such a bank records and financial info which we were used to in the past. The world of smart phones, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube had created a new type of data, “unstructured data”. When the two types are married we begin to see the concept of “big data”.

Big data can be used to grow a business obtaining insights into your customers and their behaviour, forecasting market trends that you can take advantage of. Companies such as IBM and EMC are turning to big with IBM earlier this year announcing the purchase of software firm Vivisimo. Ireland has the chance to become a major player in this area but only if we move fast.

New companies are springing up to create and commercialise data models around different types of information, for example creating apps and analytic models to look at customer sentiment and churn.
If Ireland is able to embrace big data and help companies to monetise their data a whole new sector could develop within Ireland. The key is to ensure an adequate workforce able provide the skills needed to build up a big data industry in Ireland Colleges have already begun working with the industry to identify what the education system can do to prepare graduates for the world of big data.

There is another element to big data that could benefit Irish companies – security.

According to a recent security survey, a significant number of Irish firms don’t take the threat of online crime seriously. A recent survey carried out by Deloitte in association with EMC, found that although a third of those surveyed had experienced between one and five security breaches in the past year, fewer than half of firms said it was a priority in terms of risk to the organisation.

Big data could be used help cut down on levels of fraud and help to alleviate attacks. Companies need to turn to big data and its advances to aid quicker reactions to threats and anyone unknown dangers. It allows business too look at their entire IT set-up to see what if anything out of the ordinary is happening.
Several attacks have been made on high profile firms in recent months namely LinkedIn. Although it’s difficult to prevent these attacks finding out as quick as possible that such an intrusion has occurred is extremely important.

Big data can be used not only to grow your business but also extracting insights into your existing customers and their behaviour while also predicting markets trends and even enhancing your online security.

Smaller is Better……when you’re dodging a Predator

“Small means we are quick and agile which is essential in the ever changing technology space”

The 5th in our “when is smaller better” series. Can you think of any other examples of when smaller is better ? Feel free to share them with us on our Facebook and Twitter pages which can be found at the bottom of this page


Smaller is Better…..when you’re a Computer

“Smaller is always better when it comes to technology”

The 4th in our “when is smaller better” series. Can you think of any other examples of when smaller is better ? Feel free to share them with us on our Facebook and Twitter pages which can be found at the bottom of this page


How web browsers are influencing the e-privacy debate.

Last month the directive which forced websites to comply with the EU e-privacy directive passed with little notice.

The directive requires websites using cookies – small pieces of data that get logged in your Web browser – are now required to notify users of their presence and that the user has the option to allow or deny them. This meant that you could stop online stores tracking your web browsing history, seeing your most visited websites to track what you have been searching for online.

The importance of being able to opt out of this kind of monitoring, and making it easy to do so, is becoming a key issue. The debate centres on how and where the cookies should be managed and the trade-off for the EU between protecting consumers and looking after commercial concerns. One thing which we know is that cookies are an essential piece of technology.

Cookies can be used to record user’s history over long periods of time to deliver Individual recommendations within websites or even search results. It is difficult to draw the line were this goes from a convenience to an invasion of one’s privacy.

The EU sees protection as the responsibility of protecting and educating the public on cookies as a matter for websites to deal with. However large bodies within the industry such as the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) feel that adequate measures already exist in current web browsers to block tracking cookies

Recently we have seen an unlikely ally to the EU in the form of Microsoft. There latest browser update Internet Explorer 10 has come in for criticism from W3C over its default ‘do not track’ setting – opting its users out of all marketing activities. Naturally, W3C finds this unacceptable and wants a default opt-in.

In Ireland and the UK the situation is a lot less clear cut a shortcut has been found in the argument of ‘implied consent’ which puts the onus on the user to look after themselves promoting the interests of the digital economy while still preserving the user experience. Even if Microsoft loses the battle over user privacy with IE10, the public should be more informed over the issues.

Clearly implementing a policy which takes into consideration both sets of concerns is the way forward in the debate over e-privacy but it is difficult to see how and what sort of deal can be struck. It is however positive that such an issue which effects ever single internet user is being brought to the fore and properly discussed.

Smaller is Better…When you’re a lorry

The 3rd in our “when is smaller better” series. Can you think of any other examples of when smaller is better ? Feel free to share them with us on our Facebook and Twitter pages which can be found at the bottom of this page


Freemium the concept

The concept of Freemium is where the core functionality is provided at no cost, but a premium is charged for advanced features and improved functionality.

The idea of offering your product or a version of it for free is the source of much debate at the moment. There are different models; for example Skype is free for all users – but added features will cost you money or some products such as Microsoft Office are offered on a free trial basis for a certain number of days. These can be preinstalled on device operating systems – such as Windows 7. LinkedIn offers a popular premium function which has more features than the basic free version.

Mobile apps such as angry birds gained popularity as free apps before the full game was released with a cost to download.

It is no surprise that the free services are very popular but it is difficult to measure the overall success of the Freemium model. However in the end most businesses are there to make a profit and many still believe that having a product which people are already willing to pay for is a much better business model than going down the Freemium route. Treating the free users as a marketing cost and a way of getting your brand established is all well and good but the product benefits must increase overtime for the Freemium model to be fully utilised.

Freemium only offers the hope that users will love your product so to have success using this business model your product must have high value add over the free version so you can capitalise on its popularity.

The growing number of web services offered for free is creating a vicious circle – more free services mean that more and more consumers are expecting products free of charge, this is making it harder for businesses to make money online.

Keep any eye out for the 3rd Postcard in our “when is smaller better” series…

Smaller is Better when your…. David and Goliath

“Although small, we have the skillsets to overcome the challenges of delivering effective technology”

Keep an eye out for the next Postcard this time next week and our up and coming Blog on leveraging “Freemium” technologies.

Why we love Yammer….

In the past few weeks we have started using Yammer. It allows you to setup groups (working groups / departments) for people in your company, which you can use to brainstorm ideas, discuss projects, post news, share info and stay connected. The setup was quick and easy and now we have our very own private social networking tool which allows perfect synergy and enhanced workflow.

Yammer creates a platform which allows users to post content like photos, videos, reports, letters or documents – it even has a polling function. The mobile app is especially useful, allowing quick and easy information share on the go – perfect for the road warriors! Its real strength comes in its ease of use, it has a strong likeness to Facebook so most users should hit the ground running. As For us, Yammer has allowed us to share our ideas right through the company much quicker, increasing productivity.

“But the thing we love most about Yammer is the fact it connects every employee right from the top to the bottom – everybody is included which mean.”

We would highly recommend Yammer to any Business of any size so set up a free account now at

Check back for our next blog were we will take a look at leveraging ‘Freemium’ technologies…