MOORE AND MORE
It was 1965 when Intel co-founder Gordon Moore predicted the number of transistors on an integrated circuit would double every year and the trend would continue for the foreseeable future. Now known as ‘Moore’s Law’, this is really a working example of exponential growth.
Moore was almost right. The rate of doubling has worked out to be closer to two years but the effect is essentially the same.
State-of-the-art chips in 1965 had a few hundred transistors; in 2016 that figure has reached more than 15 billion with the rate of growth unchanged. The iPhone in your pocket now has 100x the processing power of the most advanced supercomputer in the late 80s, without the multi-million dollar price tag or the need to wheel around your own mini power station to run it.
This explosive rate of growth isn’t isolated to just computing power. Computer storage, both disk space and memory, is also growing exponentially with total world computer storage only describable by a number the human brain can’t comprehend (for the curious, it’s a one followed by 22 zeros in bytes).
I used to have a lot of DVDs. If you were to save all the data onto DVDs, put each DVD back in its plastic case, you’d create a wall of DVD cases that would circle the Earth 10 times. By 2018 we’ll wrap the Earth in DVDs another 10 times again.
While a lot of this data is structured data, meaning data you can easily represent within an Excel worksheet, the big growth in data is from unstructured data, things like video, voice recordings, and free text such as news and social media posts.
In banking, the data landscape is no different. At ANZ, data volumes - collected through customer interactions and transactions, and what is produced internally - are continuously growing, as is the ability to harness and process data using technology.
‘Big Data’ is the buzzterm to describe the tsunami of data volumes companies now face. These massive data sets can be analysed to reveal patterns and trends, especially relating to human behaviour and interactions. Given its size and scale, Big Data has its own specialised tech.
FIGHTING FIRE WITH FIRE
Often called ‘Hadoop’, it takes the explosive growth in computing power and storage, all of which is getting cheaper by the day, and throws it at our vast amounts of data. This technology allows us to collect, model and analyse our data in ways we’ve never been able to before and do so at massive scale.
The use cases for big data tech are expanding all the time. Current approaches include analysing our internal network traffic for security threats, reviewing customer transactions for misuse and fraud, and searching for patterns in our data to better tailor our products and services through offers and campaigns.
Future use of Big Data in banking will be heavily customer-centric as the sector aims to build a world-leading customer experience. This is where big data will make a big difference not just to banks, but also customers and communities.