Big data and the Internet of Things: Two sides of the same coin?

Let’s start this article by going through a few scenarios. Read each statement below and determine if it’s related to big data or the Internet of Things:

  1. On average, every minute we send 205 million emails, generate 1.8 million Facebook likes, send 280 thousand tweets and upload 200 thousand photos on Facebook.
  2. 12 million Radio-frequency identification(RFID) tags were sold in 2011 which is expected to be 209 billion by 2021. This figure is likely to increase up to 209 billion as Big Data/IoT takes off.
  3. The rise of Big Data/IoT means that the number of devices which connect to the internet will rise from 13 million currently to almost 50 million by 2020.
  4. The Big Data/IoT industry is expected to grow from US $10.2 billion to approximately US $54.3 billion by 2017.

Try to figure out whether the above statements hold true for Big Data or Internet of Things.

Here are the answers: 1- Big Data, 2- Internet of Things, 3- Internet of Things, 4- Big Data.

Honestly speaking, I am also not so sure whether I got these answers correct or not.

Actual Challenge:

The critical challenge is using this data when it is still in motion — and extracting valuable information from it.

So the point is, what is the relationship between Big Data and Internet of Things? Are they two different things altogether, related to each other or two sided of same coin.

Let’s explore further.

In October 2014, delegates from the private sector and the academics community met up in Mauritius for the 36th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners.

The reason was to talk about both the positive and negative effect of big data and IoT in our every day lives, and the goal was to set up standards and suggestions on the most proficient method to lessen the dangers related with gathering and utilizing information in this huge data-IoT time.

The perceptions and conclusion of the meeting were caught in two archives: the Mauritius Resolution on Big Data and the Mauritius Declaration on the Internet of Things. Both archives recognize that IoT’s connected gadgets combined with big data can make our lives less demanding, yet there are still vital worries about people’s security and social equality.

Mauritius Resolution on Big Data:

  • Implement privacy by design.
  • Be transparent about what data is collected, how data is processed, for what purposes data will be used, and whether or not data will be distributed to third parties.
  • Define the purpose of collection at the time of collection and, at all times, limit use of the data to the defined purpose.
  • Obtain consent.
  • Collect and store only the amount of data necessary for the intended lawful purpose.
  • Allow individuals to access data maintained about them, information on the source of the data, key inputs into their profile, and any algorithms used to develop their profile.
  • Allow individuals to correct and control their information.
  • Conduct a privacy impact assessment.
  • Consider data anonymization.
  • Limit and carefully control access to personal data.
  • Conduct regular reviews to verify if results from profiling are “responsible, fair and ethical and compatible with and proportionate to the purpose for which the profiles are being used.”
  • Allow for manual assessments of any algorithmic profiling outcomes with “significant effects to individuals.”

Mauritius Declaration on the Internet of Things:

  • Self-determination is an inalienable right for all human beings.
  • Data obtained from connected devices is “high in quantity, quality and sensitivity” and, as such, “should be regarded and treated as personal data.”
  • Those offering connected devices “should be clear about what data they collect, for what purposes and how long this data is retained.”
  • Privacy by design should become a key selling point of innovative technologies.
  • Data should be processed locally, on the connected device itself. Where it is not possible to process data locally, companies should ensure end-to-end encryption.
  • Data protection and privacy authorities should seek appropriate enforcement action when the law has been breached.
  • All actors in the internet of things ecosystem “should engage in a strong, active and constructive debate” on the implications of the internet of things and the choices to be made.


There is definitely a relationship between big data and internet of things. The Mauritius conference helps in confirming this. Following is a possible rationale:

– Big data is about data. Yes, you can add all sorts of adjectives when talking about “big” data, but at the end of the day, it’s all data.

– IoT is about data, devices, and connectivity. Data — big and small — is front and center in the IoT world of connected devices.

Isn’t it simple? Maybe.:)