Unless businesses and government agencies seize control of the Big Data explosion, the world will be overrun with too much data that can’t be controlled or secured

So you think we’ve got Big Data problems now, with roughly 9 billion devices connected to the Internet? So what’s going to happen if that number explodes and reaches tens of billions? That was the question posed by Oracle president, Mark Hurd, when he raised the possibility that unless governments and businesses can take control of the big Data explosion, then there’s a serious risk that we’ll be overrun by massive volumes of data that can’t be found, controlled or secured, let alone analysed and exploited.

His comments were made in relation to a study commissioned by the company which outlined some of the impacts that the extra billions of devices will have on the data demands of large organisations and other businesses. As Hurd said, if you think we’ve already witnessed ‘Big Data’, then just wait. Examining this brave new world of M2M, or machine-to-machine data, the Oracle study, called ‘Designing an M2M platform for the connected world, concluded that:

“M2M data from remotely located assets and devices in the field is increasingly being used more broadly for strategic purposes and value creation throughout the enterprise. It has also become a means for creating new market opportunities while providing a competitive advantage for enterprise users in their own key markets.”

In commissioning its study about how businesses can take full advantage of this dynamic new world, Oracle hoped to shed some light on what requirements would be needed to turn machine-to-machine raw data into actionable intelligence and solutions, as well as how those demands might alter over time.

Beecham Research previously found that because most early adopters of M2M technologies and solutions were looking to create new services built on the new data streams, their top-priority initiatives were inevitably end-to-end security that ranged from the device all the way through to the data centre and the end-consumer of the data, and the need for these massive flows of data to be integrated fully with existing IT systems in such ways that allowed the data to be analysed and transformed into business insights.

In the light of this information, the Oracle study argues that companies should pursue these initiatives with an eye toward launching innovative products and services: “data storage requirements for M2M solutions have often not really been huge so far, but this will change with the large volumes of data expected in the future.

What will complicate matters further, Oracle believes, is the merging of M2M with cloud computing. The study’s respondents from around the world said that “Leveraging the cloud was noted as key in M2M projects, as it greatly reduces the cost and complexity of delivering M2M solutions,” Oracle said. “In fact, 90 percent of respondents noted the cloud as being ‘vitally important’ to M2M initiatives.”

Tech companies hoping to play some sort of role in this dynamic new field will have to make some difficult decisions: they’ll have to determine whether they want to be niche players which might require extensive integration with other vendors’ equipment, or whether they want to try to play a much broader role which will allow customers to focus more on business outcomes and less on cobbling together various point solutions. Oracle’s strategy is to be an end-to-end player so that customers can “capitalize on new business models that are enabled by the pervasion of connected devices,” according to Oracle’s senior vice-president, Chris Baker:

“From Java on the devices to Oracle Engineered Systems in the datacentre, Oracle’s end-to-end M2M platform can simplify the process of collecting, storing, managing and analysing the data collected by connected devices, while minimizing storage costs and helping ensure the integrity and security of data.”