273186_l_srgb_s_glAt the end of December three Big Data minds came together for a Google+ Hangout held by BackBone Media to discuss the Top Big Data Trends for 2013.

Ellis Booker, community editor for the Big Data section at Information Week was the host and MC. Guests were Gregory Piatetsky, Editor at KDNuggets.com; Nancy Kopp-Hensley, Director of Big Data Strategy at IBM, and SAP’s David Jonker, Director.

As the panelists agreed, big data has always been around, but nowadays it’s trendy. Companies are investing a lot of money in the technology trying to figure out how to get the most value out of what they have and what is out there. Here are some of the top questions and answers, as well as their predictions for 2013 and beyond.

Big Data vs. Big Data Analytics

One topic Ellis brought up is clarification around the difference between “big data” and “big data analytics”, because they’re more often than not interchangeably used. Nancy from IBM offered a clear definition:

Big data is the ability to take advantage of the data, no matter the form structured or unstructured. Big data analytics is the tools and capabilities developed to retrieve insight from said data.

How are companies using big data analytics?

“The technology now allows us to ingest data into our analytic ecosystems that we could never do before,” said Nancy. She also shared two ways companies are using it:

  • To enhance their already existing analytics and data sets. Nancy gave the example of sentiment analysis. It provides valuable and brutally honest insight into what people are actually saying about your company and product.
  • They’re taking a look at what they can do with data they have never had before. Knowledge on customer purchasing behavior helps organizations know when they should promote and when they should focus on selling.

What are the hot areas?

Gregory from KDNuggets shared his top hot areas where big data will be the biggest:

  • Mobile data, from phones, tablets and cars
  • M2M and sensor data
  • Social Networks
  • Industries: energy and utilities, healthcare, and HR

So what are their predictions for this year?

David Jonker: A number of vendors, if they haven’t already, will start to focus on in-memory technology. “In-memory is a core element to big data moving forward, not the only element, but a big one.”

Gregory Piatetsky: We should see more successes from learning applied to big data and a decline of the big data buzzword to be replaced by “smart data”.

Nancy Kopp-Hensley: We will spend a majority of our time in 2013 talking and planning on how to make the systems more consumable and simpler. We will look at the capabilities of data warehousing, like system management, do not currently exist so vendors will focus on how to create them for big data.

Click here to watch the full webcast.