IDC estimates that mankind will create 1.8 zettabytes of data in 2011. That’s 1.8 trillion gigabytes, some 9 times greater than the amount of data we generated as recently as 5 years ago.
The sheer volume of data, and the race to harness its value, has potential to be a game-changer for all sorts of industries. And that includes radio. We now have more decision-making information at our disposal than ever—PPM, cost effective online survey options, chatter on social networks, and transactional data from radio’s digital extensions (not just the station website or Facebook page, but also apps and complementary web services to broadcast such as Radio DNS).
The whole notion of “Big Data” holds huge promise, but also raises big questions. How can we keep up—capturing and storing all that data? How do we take data from different sources and combine them into a coherent whole? How do we filter, process and communicate the data to provide timely, relevant information for decision-makers? And maybe the biggest question of all—is radio willing and able to face these challenges? Other sectors, including the digital media, are already well down that road.