There is no doubt that Big Data can give unique and unprecedented insights, mainly when cross correlated with data from different domains. However, we observed that most big data insights are very well known to those really working 24/7 in the concerned vertical. Big data is mostly used today for spicing up the PPTs of the executives whilst not attending to the problems which could really be solved. To make maximum usage of big data, you need to act on it. A simple working slogan, such as “Don’t sense without acting”, would immediately change the entire big data paradigm. Also, it is important to give access of large heterogeneous data sets to the right people, i.e. those who can actually act and use it advantageously.
Furthermore, there is also no doubt that Open Data will be a major factor in making big data happen. To open data, however, cannot be enforced as those companies generating the data typically go through just-at-margin procurements – why would Worldsensing release data on which somebody else will be capitalizing on? Open data will live its full potential once the value chain has been put in place where the business generating the data can be assured that part of the value generated from that data actually comes back.
Finally, as for privacy issues, building higher and stronger privacy walls is not the right way to go. Nature does not work like this; imagine the brain, based on privacy argumentation, refuses to instruct the arm muscles to retract after the temperature sensors in the hand signal burning heat? The real big data opportunities come with private data used carefully. Intelligent or context-aware privacy mechanisms are thus needed to ensure that opportunities, both in making the world a more efficient but also more ethical place, are being made full use of.