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Finding Prophecies in the Cloud

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November 18, 2013
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The vast amounts of data tucked away and the volumes of data now being collected at exponential growth rates are a treasure trove. But, like “water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink,” these data stores must be converted into actionable information before actually being useful.

Data analytics and business intelligence software are nothing new. Historically, however, output has been proprietary and in the hands of the few. The notion of democratization of data is not new either, but the promise of what this can accomplish in the sciences, health, the environment, commerce and practically any category you can think of is palpable. You can feel it. The cloud plays a starring role.

Placing data and information in the hands of the many via the cloud has the power to transcend boundaries and create vast communities of like-minded people and institutions.

  • Open data can help unlock $3.2 trillion to $5.4 trillion in economic value per year across seven domains ― transportation, healthcare and consumer finance, for example ― according to a recent report from the McKinsey Global Institute.
  • The National Cancer Institute plans to map the genome of 11,000 tumors and place the data in the cloud in order to help drive cancer research. Without the cloud, transferring data to research institutes ― the agency has gathered 2.5 petabytes ― could take months and limit access, not to mention treatment breakthroughs.
  • Even search engine technology gives small businesses on-demand access to information, expertise, services and global markets in the cloud that was previously available only to big-budget , large-scale organizations.

In an article published in the Federal Times on a recent health IT, Niall Brennan, the director of the U.S. Office of information Products and Data Analytics, was quoted as saying “The ability to share data in the cloud is going to revolutionize the way people access data.”

Hold on for an exciting ride.

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