Social Data vs Sensor Data

Social data sensor data big dataThe two predominant kinds of big data are:

  • Social data and
  • Sensor data

Social data are data born in the social media realm such as facebook likes, linkedin updates, tweets and whatever the data entry we as humans do in the social sphere is called.

Sensor data are data captured by devices of many kinds such as radar, sonar, GPS unit, CCTV Camera, card reader and many more.

There’s a good term called “same same but different” and this term does also in my experience very well describe the two kinds of big data: The social data coming directly from a human hand and the sensor data born by a machine.

Of course there are humans involved with sensor data as well. It is humans who set up the devices and sometimes a human makes a mistake when doing so. Raw sensor data are often manipulated, filtered and censored by humans.

There is indeed data quality issues associated with both kinds of big data, but in slightly different ways. And you surely need to apply master data management (MDM) in order to make some sense of both social data and sensor data as examined in the post Big Data and Multi-Domain Master Data Management.

What is your experience: Is social data and sensor data just big data regardless of source? Is it same same but different? Or are social data and sensor data two separated data worlds just both being big?

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Big Data and Multi-Domain Master Data Management

The possible connection between the hot buzz within IT today being “big data” and the good old topic of master data management has been discussed a lot lately. An example from CIO UK today is this article called Big data without master data management is a problem.

As said in the article there is a connection through big master data (and big reference data) to big transaction data. Big transaction data is what we usually would call big data, because these are the really big ones.

The two most mentioned kind of big transaction data are:

  • Social data and
  • Sensor data

I also have seen a lot of connections between these big data and master data in multiple domains.

Social Data

Connecting social data to Master Data Management (MDM) is an ongoing discussion I have been involved in for the last three years lately through the new LinkedIn group called Social MDM.

The customer master data domain is in focus here, as the immediate connection here is how to relate traditional systems of record holding customer master data and the systems of engagement where the big social data are waiting to be analyzed and eventually be a part of day-to-day customer centric business processes.

However being able to analyze, monitor and take action on what is being said about specific products in social data is another option and eventually that has to be linked to product master data. In product master data management the focus has traditionally been on your own (resell) products. Effectively listening to social data will mean that you also have to manage data about competing products.

Attaching location to social data has been around for long. Connecting social data to your master data will also require that your location master data are well aligned with the real world.

Sensor Data   

During the past many years I have been involved in data management within public transportation where we have big data coming in from sensors of different kind.

The big problem has for sure being able to connect these transactions correctly to master data. The challenges here are described in the post Multi-Entity Master Data Quality.

The biggest problem is that all the different equipment generating the sensor data in practice can’t be at the same stage at the same time and this will eventually create data that if related without care will show very wrong information about who was the passenger(s), what kind of trip it were, where the journey happened and under which timetable.

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