Is the next big innovation from Apple - a watch - going to change the world of big data as we know it? If rumours are correct (and let me stress that at the moment they are just rumours) then Apple is working hard to launch their next big innovation: an iWatch.

big data analytics

Rumour has it that later this year, Apple will launch a wrist watch that will not only tell you the time but will allow you to monitor yourself and control other devices. The watch will understand where you are, what you have eaten, how many calories you have burnt, how well you have slept, and so forth. It will be an intelligent device that would communicate with other devices such as the iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, etc., and be connected to the Internet. This will enable you to, among other things, operate your phone using voice control, be discretely alerted to incoming calls and messages, make credit card payments (contact less and without getting your card out), get weather forecasts, customise the display, download apps, get access to buildings, etc.

As with many previous innovations, Apple wasn't the first to market. There were many digital music players before the iPod, tablet PCs have been around decades before the iPad was launched, and other companies produced smart phones before Apple launched the iPhone. What Apple seems to be getting right is the timing (the point in time when certain innovations are ready to take off) and the marketing power to create a real buzz and demand for the next must-have gadget. I feel that it will be the same with the iWatch.

There is a real buzz around wearable intelligent devices in the tech world because they generate so much new data that can be analysed. Devices like Nike's Fuelband and the Fitbit Ultra are already available and provide users with fantastic insights, data and analysis. But my prediction is that Apple will get the lion's share of a potentially massive market. And I don't think the iWatch (or whatever Apple will call it) is far away from being launched, especially as Samsung and Sony have already announced they are working on a smart watch. Pebble is another smart watch that is already available and offers compatibility with iPhone and Android - you can customise the watch with apps to control your music, go running or cycling, measure your golfing performance, and you get alerts for incoming calls or emails.

The reason I believe the iWatch (or the smart watch idea in general) will change the world of big data analytics is because it will allow all of us to collect and analyse data on both a personal and global level. Take health as an example. These intelligent wrist watches will permit monitoring of an individual's heart rate, calorie intake, activity levels, quality of sleep and more. Now imagine collecting that data on a much bigger scale. Potentially, governments, medical agencies, etc. will be able to use such collective data to gain a better insight into a nation's physical output, eating habits, risk indicators, and worrying trends. The buzz word surrounding this type of data analysis is 'big data' and I predict that it will have a huge impact in the business world. A recent global survey by The Advanced Performance Institute found that seven percent of companies have already started to use this type of mass analysis or 'big data'.

I am really excited about the opportunities that a smart watch will bring to this world and I can't wait to get my hand on an iWatch! I am currently working with my clients to help them understand the implications of big data and develop plans for this new data revolution. Would you buy an iWatch if Apple released one tomorrow? 

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