Big Data Booming In India
October 8, 2012

Big Data Becoming Big Business In India

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

As American companies look for more information about their customers, the products they buy and the goods that capture their attention at department stores, more and more of them have started turning to firms located in India, according to various media reports published over the weekend.

According to Reuters reporters Harichandan Arakali and Raju Gopalakrishnan, individuals shopping at businesses throughout the United States are increasingly being monitored by surveillance cameras. In just a matter of minutes, they say, video footage of each product you look at, each display you check out, each in-store department and aisle you visit will be transmitted to Mu Sigma, a firm based in the city of Bangalore.

There, they will be "analyzed to determine propensity to purchase, what a customer's intent, satisfaction, sentiment is," company CEO Dhiraj Rajaram told Reuters. It is just one part of what is known as Big Data, which Arakali and Gopalakrishnan define as "the business of storing, decoding and analyzing unstructured data - think video, Facebook updates, Tweets, Internet searches and public cameras - along with mountains of facts and figures" in order to "help companies increase profits, cut costs and improve service, and is now one of the world's hottest industries."

While many Big Data firms do operate in the US, more and more such centers are opening throughout India. One reason for the trend, according to Arakali and Gopalakrishnan, is the emergence of cloud computing and open-source software and the resulting decreases in the average cost of storing and working with massive amounts of data.

Additionally, Shilpa Phadnis and Sujit John of the Indian news agency TNN say that the nation's insistence on raising children with high aptitude in mathematics has given their workforce an edge in the statistics-heavy profession.

IBM is among the firms that operate analytics centers in India, according to TNN.

"In 2010, India is estimated by Avendus Capital to have delivered $375 million of the total data analytics outsourcing of $500-550 million," Phadnis and John reported. "Avendus estimates a talent shortage of 140,000-190,000 professionals with analytical capabilities in the US by 2018, representing about 40% of the total demand. This talent supply gap will create a $20 billion offshore opportunity," says Amit Singh, executive director in the financial services provider.

"We think this is just the tip of the iceberg," Rajaram told Reuters. "The world is only going to change faster and faster and faster. There will be more data, more algorithms, more applications, more new technologies."