Last week on Pro: big data in business, mobile ads, and social in the workplace


Big data was on everyone’s minds this week, as we kicked off our conference season with Structure:Data in New York City. The two-day show had plenty of highlights – check out GigaOM’s complete coverage here. But one of the most buzzworthy talks of the day was from Ira “Gus” Hunt, the CTO of the CIA, which included the eerily provocative factoid that we can all allegedly be identified by our gaits, as measured by three axes recorded by our smartphones (or Fitbits). While you mull that over, catch up on your weekly dose of GigaOM Pro content, where our analysts have their own take on big data, the mobile ad space, and social’s role in the workplace.

Note: GigaOM Pro is a subscription-based research service offering in-depth, timely analysis of developing trends and technologies. Visit to learn more about it.

Cloud/Big Data: How to use big data to make better business decisions
Paul Miller

Big data, it seems, is everywhere – we’re now producing exabytes of it each day. But regardless of what industry you’re in, this sea of (largely) unstructured data needs to be curated, cleaned and queried before it can be strategically used for data-driven decision making. Analyst Paul Miller provides a primer on big data in the business context, including an overview of analytics, performance measurements, and structured versus unstructured data. Machine learning isn’t perfect (yet), and Miller emphasizes the importance of learning to ask the right questions and how to use the smartest queries when it comes to handling your bit data intelligently and strategically.

Mobile: Why mobile advertising should finally soar in the next year. No, really!
Colin Gibbs

After years of disappointing numbers and overhyped false starts, Analyst Colin Gibbs thinks that mobile ads will finally deliver in 2013.  Gibbs contends that the rise of tablets (and phablets), the wider implementation of LTE networks and Wifi, and the increased traction for technologies such as NFC and augmented reality will all converge to make mobile ads a viable, successful channel. However, it remains to be seen if advertisers can truly leverage these factors to create and implement compelling and innovative campaigns to attract consumer attention. Gibbs cites a few promising examples from Starbucks and Adidas to get your creative juices going.

Social: Social is the new production line, not the new water cooler
Stowe Boyd

Social isn’t always trivial: Analyst Stowe Boyd dispels some misconceptions around the use of social tools in the workplace. Rather than serve as a mere outlet for banter, Boyd looks to none other than IBM’s CEO, Ginni Rometty, who argues that “social networks will supplant the business-process model.” Boyd takes it a layer deeper, comparing and contrasting company structures that are more networked (with looser social affiliations) versus those that are more process oriented (with subsequently tighter social affiliations). Boyd divides these characteristics into cooperative versus collar, and creates assumptions as to how each type of business values and implements social tools and techniques.

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