Clean Tech, Data Journalism the Top Trends for Big Data in 2012

Big Data was undoubtedly a hot topic in 2012, reaching full effect as a bubbling mainstream interest.  In part two of his interview on NewsDesk, SiliconAngle founding editor Mark “Rizzn” Hopkins covers this  major highlight of 2012, noting the trend’s very positive impact on many industries, and adoption is spreading across even more verticals as the technology matures. One of these areas is environmental protection, especially as it pertains to reducing energy consumption in the data center (see the full video below).

Citing a report from last year, Hopkins says that data center cooling accounts for a bigger and bigger percentage of global power usage. But this problem is a fairly unique case in that, as he puts it, there is market incentive to solve it:  a smaller electricity bill means less overhead, and bigger profits.

Companies like Facebook are building their data centers in Scandinavia close to the arctic, allowing Mother Nature to do the work for them.  At the same time, others are taking a more technological approach – Hopkins says one of the demonstrators at last year’s HP Discovery conference managed to achieve new levels of efficiency in its Las Vegas facility.

The big vendors are also tackling this problem. HP and Dell are innovating on the storage front, while Intel, ARM and their peers are developing more power-efficient chipsets.

Hopkins also looks at the future, and believes it lies in data journalism. He points at Nate Silver’s highly buzzed-about predictions: during the 2012 presidential elections the statistician said there is a 90 percent chance Obama will be re-elected, a forecast he based not on speculation or opinion, but rather cold, hard figures. This is underscored by the fact that both the Obama and Romney camps made heavy use of big data analytics to draw new insights about voter demographics, a fact Hopkins says is very significant regardless of the end result.