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'Big data' expert suggests analytics for SMEs

TAIPEI--Taiwan's small- and medium-sized businesses (SME) should seek business opportunities from analyzing mass amount of data gathered online due to its low-cost entry, a leading expert on networking and information technology said.

Viktor Mayer-Schonberger, co-author of “Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think,” said during his Taipei visit that people used to consider data a way to facilitate transactions, for example by selling products and services in the physical world.

But in the age of big data — marked by huge sets of complex information — the readily available data sets have become the product and a source of revenue in and of themselves, he told reporters.

“You don't need a huge initial investment to reap the benefits of big data,” he said after a reporter asked how Taiwanese SMEs can capitalize on the business trend.

Instead of building huge factories or data centers, companies need only to invest in the right tools and experts and to buy cloud-based processing and storage services to cut costs, the Oxford-based Austrian scholar advised.

“That means big data is reachable for small- and medium-sized businesses as well because of the low-cost entry,” he explained. “What it really requires is two things: data, obviously, and imagination.”

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