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What to Read: Big Data: a Revolution That will transform How We live, work, and think, a Review by Hayes Thomas

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March 01, 2015
What to Read
Hayes Thomas

What's On the Bookshelf
Over the years, we’ve had numerous conversations with industry leaders and often one of the topics that we discuss is the latest book read. We thought it would be fun to share some of these booklover conversations with our readers. Here are what our industry leaders are reading.

Big Data: a Revolution That will transform How We live, work, and think
By Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Kenneth Cukier
[Review by Hayes Thomas, President, ZDirect]

It seems like Big Data is in the news everywhere. Did you realize that now we create more data in a day than we did from early man through 2003? Approximately all of the world’s data has been created in the last two years. We read about the latest examples of how Big Data’s powerful processing methods are exposing hidden clues to empower strategic decision making from seemingly unrelated things. Even from a travel perspective, Big Data is arguably a huge opportunity for hoteliers to enhance both the business and experience of travel.

“Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think,” is a must read. It is full of real-world examples, which like a newspaper that comes before breakfast, will garner your every interest to read it cover to cover before ever putting it down. This is the first major book that I have read that dispels any notion that this could be a game-changing subject for every industry. The term Big Data is a very misunderstood term, which in this book is clearly explained by two leading experts who clarify exactly what Big Data is, how it will forever change our lives, and possibly what we can do to understand and protect ourselves from the negative consequences of this new digital age we now live in.

The book provides real-world examples of how Big Data can affect our everyday life. Solutions lay in predicting epidemic disease outbreaks, in curing unnecessary sickness, to pointing out Big Data benefits applied to historical trends and practices used in Old World methods of analyzing data. It applies Big Data techniques to the tools and applications we use every day, and explains the value of discounted, underused data and the re-use of such “messy” data to give clear pictures in demystifying questions we all face.

An underlying message throughout the book is that everything we do and use drives data that can be used in a proactive manner that could benefit the human race exponentially. Many different generations are adapting to all the new digital technologies and devices available today. Using such in their own way, for their own reasons, entire new types of data streams are being enabled that release important hidden clues. These clues crunched through the framework of Big Data techniques can expose all sorts of solutions to chronic human questions and issues needed to be solved for both personal and professional advancement.

Just as the new digital age will reshape the future of people, nations and business, so will Big Data transform the way decisions are made on both a personal and professional level. This new communication age that we live in will bring us endless possibilities to act on, for good or ill. It was once thought that machines would end up taking us all over, when what they really brought us was increased productivity. What happens in the future is all up to us. I challenge the travel industry to embrace the new world of Big Data and what it can do to help transform one of the most exciting industries in the world, and to find out what the equation n=all can really mean for everyone!

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