Top 5 Big Data Predictions by 2021

Devin Pickell
Devin Pickell  |  October 4, 2019

The world of big data is expected to reach an an astonishing 163 zettabytes, or 163 trillion gigabytes by 2025. Curious about how large one zettabyte is? It could store roughly 2 billion years worth of music.

There are many concepts and ideas to apply big data, some examples include creating custom learning models for students or offering more personalized healthcare. However, big data is still generally difficult and time-consuming to process and analyze, and it’s being generated faster than we can keep up with. Fortunately, at the rate big data technologies are advancing, these difficulties could be mitigated in the next three years.

As a matter of fact, more businesses are devising plans to adopt big data for future success. Big data will ultimately unveil new opportunities and efficiencies that could change our everyday lives – and it’s fair to expect some of these changes to break ground by 2021. So, we asked seven tech experts what their three-year predictions were for big data. Here’s what they had to say:

5 big data predictions

Click on a big data prediction below to read more:

  1. The demand for data scientists will continue to rise
  2. Big data will be more accessible
  3. NLP will be used for information retrieval
  4. DBaaS providers will embrace big data analytics
  5. Data cleansing will be automated

1. The demand for data scientists will continue to rise

Harry Dewhirst, President at Blis.

“I recently read that the Harvard Business Review dubbed this role the ‘sexiest job of the 21st century.’ There is no denying that data is going to be the currency that powers our economy moving forward; we are already well down this road. Which means data scientists will continue to drive the future.

It’s critical businesses start planning for the integration of data scientists into their organizational structures now, and perhaps more so for colleges and other educators to provide more opportunities for future workers to explore this field. Data has staying power, it’s not going away any time soon.”

Harry is certainly right. Data science is one of the fastest growing fields today due to its important role in making sense of big data.

As a matter of fact, a report by IBM, titled the Quant Crunch, estimates that up to 2.72 million jobs that require data science skills will be posted by 2020.

More than 2.7 million data science jobs will be posted by 2020

Skipper Seabold, Co-Lead of Data Science R&D at Civis Analytics.

“The role 'data scientist' will cease to be a specialized position that people hire for. The data science toolbox will become a set of skills that people in various functional roles within an organization are expected to have.

Most data scientists will no longer have to think about distributed systems – Hadoop, Spark, or HPCs. Old technologies, like traditional relational databases, will catch up in performance and capabilities to these technologies, and the need to think about and program for multiple machines connected over a network will be removed by tools available through the big cloud providers.”

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2. Big data will be more accessible

Sam Underwood, VP of Business Strategy at Futurety.

“By 2021, big data will become much more accessible, and therefore much more useful. A key challenge for many enterprises today is unifying all of this data; by definition, this is a big job!

Building data lakes and other flexible storage environments is a major priority in 2018, and we predict that by 2021, much of this critical data will be housed in systems that are much more accessible by the tools that will use them (visualization, analysis, predictive modeling). This opens up limitless possibilities for every aspect of business operations to be purely data-driven.”

Sam’s insight is spot on. It won’t be enough to just gather and process big data. If data cannot be easily understood by business end-users and decision-makers within companies, it’ll be difficult to find value.

Jeff Houpt, President of DocInfusion.

“I see the landscape for big data evolving from highly technical and expensive to more self-service and on-demand methods where the resources you need spin up automatically and you are only charged for what you use.

Really, in today's landscape to analyze big data you need massive or expensive infrastructure to capture, catalog, and prepare the data for use. Then to query and analyze the data you need to have the skillset of a very technical programmer/mathematician or data scientist.

I think that there will be platforms and apps that continue to make these tasks easier and more intuitive, and within 3 years we are going to get to a point where you feed the data straight into a single application that will handle all of the remaining details for you – and do it at scale.

I also think that through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning concepts the applications will be able to automatically understand your goals by using knowledge obtained from past users who have done a similar task. This will allow the systems to optimize the data for specific purposes with very little feedback from the user.”

3. NLP will be used for information retrieval

KG Charles-Harris, CEO of Quarrio.

“The most fundamental prediction for big data is that by 2021, information retrieval from big data repositories will be done using natural language and be instantaneous. People will just ask questions in normal language and the system will answer back in ordinary language, with auto-generated charts and graphs when applicable.”

4. DBaaS providers will embrace big data analytics

Ben Bromhead, CTO and Co-Founder of Instaclustr.

“We expect to see Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) providers really embrace big data analytics solutions over the next three years, as they adapt to serve a fast-growing client need. Enterprise companies have been collecting and storing more and more data, and continue to seek ways to most efficiently sift through that data and make it work for them.

By integrating big data analytics solutions into their platforms, DBaaS providers will not just host and manage data, but also help enterprise clients to better harness it. For example, Elasticsearch is a powerful open source technology we’ve become quite familiar with that enables developers to search and analyze data in real-time.

Expect this and similar technologies that put developers in command of their data to become increasingly prominent within DBaaS repertoires.”

5. Data cleansing will be automated

Jomel Alos, Online PR Lead of Spiralytics Performance Marketing.

“One of the biggest issues right now for big data is the clutter and incorrect data. Most companies right now have their own cleansing framework or are still developing theirs. Eventually, cleansing and organizing will be automated with the help of various tools. Because big data is not static, these tools are also expected to automate the cleansing process on a regular basis.”

Jomel brings up a great point. For quick data-retrieval to occur, big data will need to be cleansed for quality and relevancy. As a matter of fact, the U.S. lost an estimated $3.1 trillion due to poor data quality in 2016. This is why  “scrubbing” through processed data is so important when it comes to structuring big data.

Current processes of data cleansing aren’t exactly time-sensitive. As of now, they require nearly 60 percent of a data scientist's time. Once these processes are able to be automated through the use of AI and machine learning, real progress will be made.

Devin Pickell
Author

Devin Pickell

Devin is a Content Marketing Specialist at G2 Crowd writing about data, analytics, and digital marketing. Prior to G2, he helped scale early-stage startups out of Chicago's booming tech scene. Outside of work, he enjoys watching his beloved Cubs, playing baseball, and gaming.