The history of computing over the last 30 years is one of lurches forward every time individuals got the power to do what only big enterprises could do previously — and to do a much better job of it.
It happened when computing got personal in the ’80s.
It happened when networking got personal in the ’90s.
It happened when both together got mobile and personal in the ’00s.
And it will happen with personal data as well in the ’10s.
We as individuals will be able to do more with our own data than big enterprises can. Meanwhile, nearly all the “big data” jive today is about what only big companies can do. Yet we’ve seen this movie before, and we know how it ends: with individuals winning, because they were better equipped. And we know the big companies will win too, because they are comprised of individuals. Both will end up doing what only they can do best.
This is why Big Data needs the modern equivalent of the PC, the Internet and the mobile phone: an invention that mothers necessity.
I think that invention is the personal cloud. All we — today’s developers — need to do now is build a good and compelling personal cloud. Or a choice of them. Once that happens, and people start using them, the big companies (and government agencies) of the world will cave in and release personal data that they clutch like a treasure, thinking that only Big Solutions to their Big Data problems, from Big Vendors, will do the job. They caved in on computing when they embraced PCs, on networking when they embraced the Internet, and on mobility when they embraced smartphones and tablets.
I could be wrong, but I’ve made the same prediction three times already. This is the fourth. To me, the only question that matters is: How?
Some pretty cool startups and open source dev groups will vet their answers at IIW. See ya there.