According to latest Cisco reports, global internet traffic will quadruple from 2010 to 2015, reaching 966 Exabytes (EB) per year.
Just to keep things in perspective:
1 EB = 1 000 000 terabytes = 1 000 000 000 gigabytes.
Looking a bit backwards, according to an estimation from Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO, the total of human knowledge created from the dawn of man and digitized till 2003 totaled 5 Exabytes.
These two values are so far apart in scale, dimension and time, that the logical conclusion should be that our ability to create data completely overpasses our ability to digest it. At least, that was the general consensus on the matter. Until now.
Journalist James Bamford has confirmed in a recent Wired cover story older rumors that USA’s NSA is finalizing as we speak a massive surveillance center in Utah which will be able to store and process Yottabytes of data (the biggest data measurement unit yet). (1 million Exabytes = 1 Yottabyte).
In short, this is the big data that transpired about the Utah Data Center:
It will cost roughly $2 billion dollars and it will be finished sometime late 2013.
It will store, monitor and analyze virtually all communication channels (internet, mobile phones, etc).
It will be used to try and crack the AES encryption, the cryptographic standard considered unbreakable so far “in any amount of time relevant to mortals”.
This means you needn’t worry, the Jack Bauers of the online are hard at work in dealing with Big Data issues…
Apple has finally presented the “new iPad”. It’s doesn’t have a number next to the name (3, for example), but it is an evolution of the big screen with a button that we’ve been enjoying so far. As it happens, the event yesterday was more or less the kind of “disappointment” people felt when the company introduced the iPhone 4S instead of the long expected iPhone 5. In response to everyone’s great expectations, Apple’s new iPad moves faster and introduces Retina screen while keeping performance stable and battery life close to ten hours. But the real game changing announcement is that from now on, the iPad will cost $399, making life very hard for all Android tabled producers.
While fighting off server problems in Europe and several other countries, the company has now launched a new location Application Programming Interface which allows apps on it’s platform to tag posts with friends and places, read the location of your old posts and search for specific posts by coordinates and distance parameters. Basically, the update can pull location for your friends based on their posts from Facebook…
Adobe released yesterday Shadow, “a new inspection and preview tool” that allows developers to remotely control and inspect Web pages in multiple phones and tablets simultaneously.
Privacy is a hot topic again these days.
Twitter has acknowledged that after iPhone users opt to have the app search their contact list, the company stores names, e-mail addresses and phone numbers on its servers for 18 months.
Google made Wall Street Journal’s front page on Friday, after journalists finding out that a secret code in it’s ads tricked “Apple’s Safari web-browsing software” into allowing Google to monitor what iPhone users were doing on the internet. The search giant disabled the code after receiving a call from the WSJ.
And NYTimes.com publishes here an extensive feature on how companies learn your secrets.
Now, before panicking, let’s take five minutes to consider some facts, in order to look at the whole picture…
…looks like this…
…and like this:
(ok, things might have grown a bit in the last 2 months, but still…)
If you were to ask anyone these days to give you a brief history of Social Networks, they would most-likely think about Facebook, then do a bit of research and come up with this:
1971 – the first e-mail is sent (and no, the text was not some inaugural speech, it was something more like QWRTYDHS – a test between 2 computers over ARPANET, a network of computers preceding the Internet)
1997 – the birth of the instant message, thanks to AOL
2002 – Friendster – the network that connected online real-world friends
2003 – MySpace – a Friendster clone, is born.
2004 – Facebook enters the market
2006 – Twitter is launched.
Well, that’s all fine, but there’s more to it…
…or how companies can benefit from customers sharing their positive brand experiences on social networks.
Market Research has now reached a point where it’s too much about anonymous respondents, even though in this day in age, people tend to build their Social Media reputation based on the product reviews they write and talk about.
This is why I believe 2012 will have to bring a huge change, because companies will start to realize the dormant power of social media influence on brands. Satisfaction Sharing. SatShare, if I may.
Let’s say you analyze a Market Research report where 50% of your 1.000 respondents have given positive reviews. In a conventional situation, these 500 people would end up in a spreadsheet and clearly, important decisions would be taken based on this. But if you took an innovative approach to this figure and gave these 500 people the opportunity to share their satisfaction on social networks, then you’d stand a good chance of reaching about 50.000 people instantly, considering at least 100 of them would share the info to 500 friends (on average)…
According to a study made by Robert Half Technology earlier this year that allegedly processed the answers of 1.400 chief information officers from companies across the US, more than 54% of them responded that their companies do not allow employees to visit social networking websites for any reason during office hours. Together with messaging tools like Yahoo or Skype, Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter are seen like the devil’s work in these companies and are, as such, regarded as counterproductive. Amongst the main reasons why different employers block social media, the main is, of course, loss in productivity, but “exposure of company’s computer and network to viruses and spyware” and “leaking of corporate information” rank high as well. This kind of study only confirms what you might already be thinking, that this happens elsewhere in the world as well. After all, throughout the world and especially outside some industries like online advertising or media in itself, Social Media websites are regarded as entertainment.
In fact, considering all of these websites as entertainment is the weapon of choice for those who argue that it is more productive for companies not to restrict their employees access to Social Media. According to another study from the University of Melbourne, “short and unobtrusive breaks, such as a quick surf on the internet, enables the mind to rest itself, leading to a higher total net concentration for a day’s work, and, as a result, increase productivity.” According to this study, those who engage in WILB (Workplace Internet Leisure Browsing) are 9% more productive than those who don’t. But this is Australia we’re talking about, so this might explain the result of the study.
Milgram’s “Small World” experiment in the 70′s was one of the most controversial of it’s time: Milgram showed that the human society is a network and that everybody is on average 6 people away from anybody else through his/her connections.
Since Facebook was not invented at the time, to prove his theory Milgram used a chain correspondence system: individuals were asked to send a letter to other randomly selected individuals living in other cities. If the sender did not know the targeted person, they were asked to send the letter to somebody else they thought might know the target and so on. Milgram measured how many nods were necessary until the letter reached the destination and concluded that the people in the US are separated on average by 6 people, thus the wide spread expression “six degrees of separation” between people.
In today’s explosion of social networks, the above experiment does not seem so implausible anymore and, depending on business/industry, the average number of connections between people is probably far lower than 6: social networks have made it visible for us all how interconnected we really are and how close we are to anybody through our connections. Just type in a person’s name on LinkedIn and you will get instant access to the information on how you can reach that person through 2nd and 3rd degree connections.