Meet fast data―a rapidly growing member of the broader big data family, which is enabling real time analytics and, increasingly, automated business decision-making on the appropriate response.

Why should you care? It depends what field you’re in. Areas like telecommunications and financial services are rich with potential uses for fast data. The legal profession? Not so much.

Ultimately the business case for using fast data must relate to real business needs and outcomes; your company might not have any and that’s OK.

Examples of real-time analytics

The base level of fast data is analytics—when the information or analytics are displayed in real time. Here are 2 examples of how fast data can be used.

  1. An operations centre can see real-time load on a network, or when utilisation thresholds are exceeded.
  2. A real-time dashboard showing real-time transactions being processed by a system and perhaps a traffic light indicating if there are any areas of the system that are not performing within defined limits.

It’s then up to staff to use that real-time information to decide what action to take.

Fast-data decisions

The next level is what’s called fast data decisions—when the information is used to inform an automated decision-making process that results in action/s.

Decision-making may consist of a simple set of rules or maybe something more complex like a machine-learning algorithm—artificial intelligence (AI).

For example, if you have an online shop and you can measure customer behaviour in real time, you can create rules to trigger a special offer if the customer’s behaviour appears to indicate they are about to leave the website without making a purchase.

Internet of Things

The uses for fast data are set to increase with the rise of the Internet of Things. That’s because each internet-enabled device transmits information about itself, and that fast data technology can be used. It can push advertisements for nearby restaurants or cafés onto your phone or enable you to show off on Facebook how far and how fast you’re jogging.

Does your business need to make use of fast data?