What’s the Big Deal About Big Data?

By Anthony O’Farrell


When I first told friends and family that I was going back to school to study analytics, everyone kept asking, “Analytics? What’s that?” Fast forward a few years and data analytics is everywhere – often prefixed with the word BIG! So what drew me to the sexiest job of the 21stcentury? The exponential rise in digital data means there is a corresponding demand for people, organizations and tools that can harness that data and deliver insight. GridPoint is such an organization and GridPoint Energy Manager is that tool.
 
That word, insight, is a critical and sometimes neglected piece of the big data puzzle. Collecting data is relatively straightforward, but the results are complex. In fact, WIRED reports that researchers at the University of California at Berkeley discovered that five quintillion bytes of data are produced every two days! Here at GridPoint, we have been collecting energy data since 2003, and to date we have accumulated 75 billion data points which are being added to at a rate of 100 million data points per day. The data collection and storage problem has been cracked – so now what? If you are simply collecting data and storing it then your business plan is no better than the South Park Gnomes’ Three Phase Business Plan. Just like drilling for and refining commodities like crude oil, we only derive value from energy data through sophisticated data mining techniques using a range of analytical tools and statistical savvy. Our end product is not just mountains of data – our end product is insight, insight into how your buildings consume energy across your enterprise.
 
With data-driven insight, the decision makers in your organization can make better informed and quicker decisions. It is this insight, and not the data per se, that delivers reduced energy consumption, increased building comfort and improved operational efficiency. By using real data you can have confidence that you are optimizing the limited resources at your disposal. At GridPoint, we combine cutting-edge advanced analytics with decades of subject matter expertise to deliver real lasting value to our customers.