2014 Has been a massive year for Big Data, as it transitioned from an emerging and exciting technology to a somewhat overused buzzword for any application of data science. This was reflected earlier in the year by Gartner’s always insightful ‘hype cycle‘, where we saw the term drop off the ‘Peak of Inflated Expectations’, and begin its descent into the ‘Trough of Disillusionment’.

While companies all over the world have scrambled to add some data science magic to their mix, an increasingly significant knowledge gap developed between the old school business minds and the new data driven youngsters. Lessons that Eric Ries started teaching the startup world in 2011 about validating ideas and quick iteration with evidence based decisions became appropriate across the board. A downpour of new tracking, analytics and visualisation tools has given businesses the opportunity to bring the build-measure-learn cycle into the very heart of their operations, regardless of size or scale.

Let’s take this opportunity to see which were the most exciting Big Data news stories and articles from 2014, based on the amount of engagement across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+:

5. How Ford Uses Data Science: Past, Present and Future

Earlier in the year Eileen McNulty wrote a case study on Ford’s use of Big Data to turn their business around from a $12.6 billion loss in 2006. In November she followed up with Ford’s Chief Data Scientist, Mike Cavaretta, to find out more about the technology and some of their learnings.

4. Indian Government Using Big Data to Revolutionise Democracy

Another follow up post, this time to Furhaad Shah’s article on Narendra Modi’s use of Big Data in the 2014 election in India. Eileen McNulty looked at how Modi’s party was continuing to build their big data strategy into the governance of the country, helping to provide better representation for India’s immense population.

3. The Data Science Skills Network

Throughout 2014 we were very lucky to have Ferris Jumah, one of LinkedIn’s immensely talented data scientist, give talks at our events around Europe. He also shared with us some of his personal research into exactly what makes up the skill set of a data scientist. A fascinating read for anyone with a professional interest in the field.

2. Kreditech Raises $40 Million at $190 Million Valuation

Fintech came kicking from the gate in 2014, with automated credit scoring company Kreditech raising $40 million at an incredible $190 million valuation. It was a record for the German fintech scene, and a strong indication of a very promising growth area for the country. Of all the exciting funding stories this year, this one spread the fastest.

1. 60 Seconds With Mark Cuban: Cyber Dust and Data Security

Tech mogul Mark Cuban is now well known for his super secure messaging app Cyber Dust. He spent a little time talking to us about the other potential for Cyber Dust: Licensing out the technology into the Internet of Things market, to keep your notifications and sensor data private and secure. It’s a fascinating move, and we’re excited to see where it gets picked up.

 


(image credit: Eric Fischer)

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