According to a BBC report, computer company IBM stated that 2.5 billion gigabytes of data was generated every day in 2012.

Given its importance on business strategy, data usage has not abated in the intervening years. Considering this, how can every facet of our world benefit from this data-rich environment?

**Educated guesses **

Everyone of us has a retirement fund, so are investors in some way, shape or form.

The investment space is probably one of the most analytically mature industries in the world today. Key decisions are based on any number of quantifiable indicators that can range from headline earnings per share and price-earnings ratios, all the way through to market time-series forecasting and neural networks.

It therefore stands to reason that people should already understand how beneficial using all available data sources should be to make important investment decisions.

In reality, however, a significant percentage of data in these indicators are constrained to historical corporate and market information only. It does not account for fresh data sources fuelled by conversations online across social networking platforms or multiple varieties of data made available through myriads of new smart device applications.

**Identifying new sources **

So what is the relevancy of Big Data in a developing age? Big Data in the digital world is far richer than traditional historical data sources. This technology drives new insights that can be derived from the masses of information that come from seemingly irrelevant information domains.

Take public sentiment as an example. People share news and individual viewpoints on companies, economies, political parties, and other areas of interest with one another on any number of social networking sites. And while cynics might argue that much of this information contributes to data noise, the reality is that it could provide strong leading indicators of market behavior. It also determines sentiment much quicker than it could historically be detected.

Monitoring social sentiment and responses to a variety of events or triggers can also provide more insight into true market influences.

Similarly, the Internet of Things (IoT) and the continued rise of connected devices are ushering in different opportunities for insights when one have the capability to analyse this data effectively.

Certainly, the connected fridge ordering milk when a person runs out might not sound influential on investment choice. However, using personal health devices linked to medical data could have a massive impact on insurance premium strategies.

It might lead to the early diagnoses of a serious illness or even provide an early warning around an imminent heart attack, meaning that action can be taken to prevent this.

The impact this could have on insurance is profound. Some industry leaders have already leveraged these insights to drill their pricing strategies down to almost an individual personalised level showing significant improvement on profitability per insured member.

Data is king

Placing issues of personal privacy aside, the push towards IoT is gaining momentum locally.

It is even extending beyond telemetry in transport and logistics and encompassing the likes of health and fitness, retail, and manufacturing.

These devices are creating new data points with information streaming into corporate networks. For investors, this should signify a different approach to their thinking when they evaluate possible candidate entities to invest in.

The mere fact that a candidate is strategically investing into things such as Big Data analytics and data science capabilities should already provide potential investors with an indicator of future growth potential.

Data has been labelled by many as the new oil. For anybody active in the investment space, this should be a clear sign that organisations who actively embrace the learning that Big Data provide today should be ones to watch in a digitally-led world.

For investment organisations not yet placing a focus on data, time and effort should be spent on understanding the benefits Big Data and Analytics offers in this space, not only to capitalize on these benefits, but to also avoid not falling behind.

**The child factor **

As a parent, there are times when we need peace and quiet, which is impossible with little humans exercising their measure of control on daily routines.

Often, we reach for smart devices to pacify children. These devices are simply easy and always on hand and may not harm the child if given to him once in a while. I read an article on which asked:  If parents hand out a device regularly, though, could the technology slow early child development?

Speech Development

The article pointed out that one new finding presented at the 2017 Pediatrics Societies Meeting did find a correlation. The study analysed over 900 children using parent-reported data on amount of screen time received. The parents reported the screen time of their children at age 18 months.

Then, the researchers conducted an evaluation of the children’s development. Using the information reported by parents, researchers found that one-fifth of the children had almost 30 minutes of screen time each day. As screen time increased in some families, children were almost 50 percent more likely to have a speech delay as they developed.

The article added that on the other hand, senior investigator Dr. Catherine Birken does insist on caution when approaching these results. This pioneering study will need more testing to verify its accuracy. Interestingly, the study did not find a correlation between a child’s screen time and other developmental areas.

An element of fun

Many people don’t think about insurance beyond the premiums that they pay every month or when they have to claim after an accident or house break in.

However, through gamification, Discovery has alerted drivers to driving habits that pose significant dangers on the roads. They made insurance fun. This is the issue with certain schools and teaching methods. Somewhere along the road, education has lost its fun element.

An article on suggests that this is where technology can be a major influencer.

The report itself points to a study that identified some key elements of gamification that were found to improve engagement, and learning, among students who took e-learning courses that had gamification elements within them.

These elements include a way to personalize profiles and use avatars in order to create their own version of themselves; create chapters that divide up the action (and learning) to build in interest and help with retention; and create some type of incentive to continue like accumulating points, earning badges, or reaching some status.

A new way to read

The article also quoted Tali K. Gadish, founder of The Library of Miss Gadish, who said that gamification was definitely part of the strategy from the beginning of turning Miss Gadish into an app that would encourage reading and stimulate the imagination.

“In my previous experience with Dreamworks, I saw how quickly children and adults took to any apps that were created for various animated films that included elements of gamification. I knew it had to be central to what we were creating. That’s why we added stars and shapes that readers collect at each level that incentives them to continue through the series of books to get a reward for their accomplishments,” said Gadish.

This is a far cry from my previous blog which pointed out the negative aspects of technology. We need to know the good and the bad aspects of technology in order to appreciate the impacts that it will have on our lives. Technology will impact us as far as we allow it. If we embrace the good, we will grow. If we embrace the bad, technology will become a treat.