What Is Big Data & Why Is It a Big Deal?

Updated: Feb 6

Written By: Bethany Blakeney, New England Mobile System's Fleet Division Customer Care Coordinator

Everyone is talking about big data. Maybe it has you thinking, “What is big data and why is it such a big deal?” Big data is not just a buzzword — it is so much more. Big data and IoT are transforming business, and some might even say it’s changing the world. In business, big data is used to increase efficiency, save money and improve the customer experience.



What Is IoT Data?


Daniel Dodgson is the Associate Vice President for Data Engineering for Geotab, leading a team of data scientists and data engineers who design new and improved systems to draw cutting edge insights. He explains "IoT data is data collected from Internet of Things (IoT) technology such as sensors, wearables and connected hardware. From this vast network of internet-connected devices and sensors around the world, companies can take many measurements, track activities, and monitor trends — think of a smartphone, fitness watch or connected car."


How Companies Store Big Data

A small, local store that logs only a couple hundred transactions a day is obviously going to have different ways of dealing with their data, compared to an larger enterprise that collects trillions of points of data each day from all kinds of devices, all around the world.

Daniel tells us, "Any company that stores information uses some form of database system. Database systems like Microsoft SQL Server, PostgreSQL, Oracle, and MySQL are some examples. These applications allow users to capture, store and analyze data with relative ease. In cases where companies want to capture and analyze data in real-time on a massive scale, data warehouses that are specifically tuned for such tasks come into the picture. Examples of this are Google BigQuery and Amazon Athena."


Top Benefits of Big Data


Big data can help businesses with:

  • Future Planning — through predictive and prescriptive insights

  • Customer Service — by providing a clearer view into customer satisfaction and requirements

  • Risk Management

  • Cost Savings Opportunities

Companies can use big data systems to not only provide storage of historical datasets, but also to give them the ability to run complex data analysis on their historical data. There are many different options to choose from when it comes to big data systems, from self-hosted to cloud based, and Google to Microsoft.


Telematics and IoT Big Data


Many fleets support management with the use of telematics or vehicle tracking devices, which act like an IoT hub for the vehicle when connected with third-party devices like New England Mobile's Fleet Management Solution, Geotab and maybe even sensors that integrate seamlessly with Geotab, transmitting engine data, location, trips history, driving behavior data, temperature, tire pressure, and more.


Geotab partners with thousands of companies that create any kind of solution you could imagine that has to do with your fleet and they all integrate seamlessly so for New England Mobile's end users it's just one solution they have to use. For our customers this just means more data points to help them make more informed decisions for their business.


"Vehicle and driving data is fundamental to businesses or government agencies that want to measure their operations. From there, organizations can make important decisions that create improvement in all areas of their fleet operations." Daniel said.

How fleets use telematics data:



Insight on Driving and Risk


Daniel Points out, "Telematics collects, stores and sends information between end users and vehicles through telecommunication devices. Big data greatly extends the value of that data."

Big data delivers many services to the telematics world. Routing optimization, breakdown alerts, maintenance reminders, and driving behavior analysis can all be be provided with the help of big data.

There are numerous benefits of analyzing driving behavior with big data. A long list of driving behaviors can be noticed and analyzed through designed intelligent algorithms, such as speeding, stopping, and turning.


By monitoring these activities, systems can be put in place to coach and instruct drivers on better driving habits and fleet safety like an in-vehicle verbal coaching tool from New England Mobile or other solutions we offer to improve driver safety.


Big data analysis on driving behaviors also contributes to fleet risk management. Building accurate risk models based on driving behavior can provide a precise assessment for the whole fleet.


Geotab's Big Data Environment


Daniel is an expert on how Geotab uses Big Data. He says "There are billions of data records that pass through Geotab's servers everyday, including GPS data, engine data, accelerometer data, and more. They are certain leading the telematics industry. They have taken that leap forward and are diving into big data with some big ideas. Big data has become so fundamental to Geotab, that as a company, each team in the company has a person training in using big data tools."

"Imagine selecting a route in MyGeotab to display on the map and being able to see the traffic flow rates for certain times during the day for that particular route. Or, what about being able to see an overlay on the map of cell network coverage based on the type of devices that are in your fleet. This way if one of your devices hasn’t updated recently you can quickly see on the map that they have entered an area with poor cellular coverage. The advantage of this coverage map is that it can be built from Geotab’s device logs so that the coverage maps are specific to Geotab devices and not generic maps provided by the cellular providers."



New England Mobile Systems and Geotab


This is where the near future is taking us and Geotab is leading the way. Soon our customers can get all of this info by simply glancing at the map on their screen, it's amazing. New England Mobile is here to guide our customers into better ways they can leverage the data they already have access to. We can help you create custom reports that automatically get sent to your email. We can also create custom rules based off any data point the system collects from your vehicles. You really can have the system be as simple or as advanced as you like ask us how today.


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