The Northern Ireland Big Data Revolution? #bdwbelfast #bigdata

In November 2010 I was paraphrased. And it was one of those phrases that’s been used and used again. It all stemmed from a panel I was one when asked, “If I was to give you £100 now what you would invest it on?”, I replied that I’d invest in a startup that worked on mining data, we process little of what we create.

My dear friend, Kevin Parker, paraphrased it into: Data is the new oil, in the next ten years it will be the world’s most valuable natural resource” (Kevin’s better at those sorts of things than I).

Fast forward to 2014, I’ve been teaching Hadoop things, endlessly blogging on Hadoop (all the way back in 2011), real time analytics with SpringXD and even a sentiment server on a Raspberry Pi. The buzzwords have finally caught on…. but alas, Northern Ireland my dear friend, you’re probably too late.

Only the large will survive. The rest will either be employed or outsource to the larger. Even then the larger will be catching the falling droplets of the very large.

It all boils down to the curve.

The Curve, yesterday.
The Curve, yesterday.

In standard deviation terms we’re probably zero degrees from the mean i.e. right in the middle. Call it “peak BigData” if you will. And as much as the suits, the consultants and invested startups might not like me to say it, that’s basically where we are. We needed to be ahead of the curve, the likes of INI missed that in my opinion.

Unless you’re willing to create a service company and catch the falling work then expect to have to raise $5-10M seed and series A to do anything remotely viable and get it in front of the right eyes. There’s plenty of opportunity in some respects, visualisation is still pretty untapped (except the likes of Tableau) but you have vendors clambering over the larger clients when it comes to in memory processing (SAP), Hadoop infrastructure (Cloudera, Hortonworks, MapR, EMC etc etc) and storage prices tumbling at a rapid rate.

And I know what you’re thinking, “we’re competing on a global platform Jase/Jazz”, yes we are. Along with everyone else and all this in the knowledge that Silicon Valley and India will be already taking 80% of it, leaving the rest of us to compete for the remaining 20%.

Like I said at Beltech2014 last month, the skills are very short in supply over here so collaboration is key. Something that was being echoed in the #BDWBelfast conference yesterday. And if you believe you think there’s untold riches in that data, yes there is but a million people also said the same thing before way ahead of the curve, you have catch up to do and quickly.



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