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Dec. 2013/Jan. 2014, Vol. 28

Ten big data case studies in a nutshell

You haven't seen big data in action until you've seen Gartner analyst Doug Laney present 55 examples of big data case studies in 55 minutes. It's kind of like The Complete Works of Shakespeare, Laney joked at Gartner Symposium, though "less entertaining and hopefully more informative." (Well, maybe, for this tech crowd.) The presentation was, without question, a master class on the three Vs definition of big data: Data characterized by increasing variety, velocity and volume. It's a description, by the way, that Laney -- who also coined the term infonomics -- floated way back in 2001. The 55 examples are not intended to intimidate, but instruct. Laney told the audience not to feel overwhelmed, but to home in on the big data case studies that might improve business performance at their own companies: "Yes, I know you're in industry x, but there are tremendous ideas that come from other industries that you need to consider adapting and adopting for your own industry," he said. Here are 10 of them: 1. Macy's Inc. and real-time ...

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