Big data, big future

New ISO/IEC JTC1 study group

By Janice Blondeau

Business, academic, and government leaders broadly agree about the potential of big data to fuel innovation, advance commerce and drive progress. We know that big data could change how we work – by improving operations, allowing faster, more accurate analyses, hence more informed decisions. But what exactly is big data and how does international standardization fit in?

Identifying key big data terms and definitions, and scoping out the role of standardization are...
Identifying key big data terms and definitions, and scoping out the role of standardization are...

Big data is…

When it comes to defining big data, Wikipedia calls it “any collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications”. Fatemeh Khatibloo and Brian Hopkins at Forrester Research describe big data as “a journey that every company must take to close the gap between the data that’s available to them, and the business insights they’re deriving from that data”.

However a lack of consensus on some fundamental aspects is confusing to potential users and holding back progress.

New study group with big data focus

ISO/IEC JTC (Joint Technical Committee) 1: Information technology, has recently created ISO/IEC JTC 1 (BD SG) Study Group on Big Data, to scopeout the role of standardization in big data and to make recommendations for future standards development.

Specifically it has been tasked with surveying the existing ICT (information and communication technology) landscape for key technologies and relevant standards, models, use cases and scenarios for big data from JTC 1, IEC, ISO and other standards development organizations. It will also identify key big data terms and definitions
 A third work area of the study group is to assess the current status of big data standardization market requirements, identify standards gaps, and propose standardization priorities to serve as a basis for future JTC 1 work.

The challenges ahead

Jim Melton, Chair of ISO/IEC JTC 1 SC 32: Data management and interchange, sees that big data provides many challenges. “Retention and data quality are only two of them, and not necessarily the most difficult.  Processing that data, querying it, analysing it and summarizing it are going to be quite difficult. In many environments, simply describing the data – developing metadata for it – will be vitally important and very difficult to do.”

“This is a very exciting time to be involved in IT standardization,” said Melton.  “I truly believe that addressing the problems, challenges and opportunities associated with big data can create a paradigm shift.”

The study group will report with recommendations and other potential deliverables to the 2014 ISO/IEC JTC 1 Plenary which will take place in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in November 2014.

Gallery
Identifying key big data terms and definitions, and scoping out the role of standardization are... Identifying key big data terms and definitions, and scoping out the role of standardization are...
...two of the activities of new JTC 1 study group. ...two of the activities of new JTC 1 study group.
Recommendations will be made to the JTC 1 plenary taking place in November 2014. Recommendations will be made to the JTC 1 plenary taking place in November 2014.