Cisco’s 2012 Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast predicts that nearly 19 billion network connections will be operational by 2016 — nearly 2.5 connections for every human on earth — up from 10.3 billion in 2011. Not surprisingly, the rising popularity of mobile devices, specifically smartphones and tablets, is driving that explosive growth.
Billions of mobile devices generate enormous volumes of data. In fact, Cisco estimates that global IP traffic will be 1.3 zettabytes within three years. (One zettabyte equals 1,099,511,627,776 gigabytes.) By any definition, that qualifies as big data.
But many retailers aren’t prepared to manage this explosion in mobile-generated information, argues Brian Lent, cofounder and chief technical officer of Medio, a provider of predictive analytics products for the mobile industry. Before launching Medio in 2004, Lent served as director of information technology at Amazon.com, and also started three other venture-backed startups.