Jul 2021

The Guide to Big Data

Big Data is a quintessential tech word, and it sparks interest every time. The used data comes from social networks (photos, sounds, images, GPS coordinates). Individuals also provide information more or less voluntarily to companies and administrations.


Defining Big Data

Big Data is a quintessential tech word, and it sparks interest every time. The used data comes from social networks (photos, sounds, images, GPS coordinates). Individuals also provide information more or less voluntarily to companies and administrations. And, finally, data can also be generated by other types of files: these gradually fill up with information derived from sensors; this particular information isn't personal per say and is then processed by an artificial intelligence which collects and analyses the data when needed.

To summarise, Big Data is based on 3 parameters: volume, speed and variety (hence the term Big Data 3V). But did you know that Big Data could also be successfully used for energy management?

Big Data is now a part of everyday language. And yet, the word “big” has almost become obsolete. What really matters today is data in the broader sense. The amount of data present in the world isn't what’s most important.

What counts most is how specific data is used on its own scale in a business, a community or in housing. That’s the whole point of using data for energy efficiency, thanks in big part to Smart Data.

How is Big Data useful for energy efficiency?

Big Data, and collected data in general, is only useful when it has a concrete purpose. The range of genuine possibilities and actions is already immense. And one field in particular shows the relevance and vastness of data: energy optimization.

Building managers all want to save on operating costs. One of their priorities is to lower their energy bill. Big Data fits perfectly in such a quest.

To do this, a building must have the ability to generate and collect consumption data and send the data to an artificial intelligence. Thanks to its insightful algorithms, the AI can then adjust heating and optimise lighting at any given time.

This works for corporate buildings, but not only. Public services and industries can also benefit from big data in the context of industrial stewardship and maintenance. Data has to be “smart” to help with energy efficiency, therefore needing to be collected and analysed in real time.

What is Smart Data?

Smart Data refers to data that can self-analyse in real time. This isn't the case for all data since some have to be collected, sorted and transferred first. With Smart Data, the processing time is shortened and the associated device can make quick decisions


That is why Smart Data works very well with the Internet of Things (IoT), a technology that acts on the spot and which will also benefit from the 5G network.

Speed and reliability are essential for computer-aided medicine, to give instructions to self-driving cars, to offer real-time sales in stores, and as we can already see with geo-tracking.

In business and construction, Smart Data is just as important in two ways:

  • For predictive maintenance, to detect anomalies and anticipate breakdowns. The same applies to heating or water systems. According to a 2018 McKinsey report, businesses across the world could save 630 billion dollars by 2025[1] if they opted for this solution.
  • For energy optimisation, since the data that is collected in real time helps to regulate the building’s consumption based on needs.

In both cases, the data is collected and analysed in real time and Smart Data gradually learns from each bit of information to produce the best results.

How is Big Data useful for energy performance?

Energy performance is based on three associated elements:

  • the sensors;
  • collecting and cross-referencing data;
  • the energy manager receiving information about the data.

The data largely stems from the companies themselves or from public and industrial institutions. This important information is collected in meters, bills and connected sensors. Another source of information guaranteeing better energy efficiency comes from baseline data, such as how to find the most economical production principle, for example.

In concrete terms, a company specialising in energy efficiency will install connected sensors inside your production lines or in your corporate buildings. These sensors constantly collect your consumption data, which means that they can detect the faulty areas that lead to overconsumption. This information is directly transmitted to a dashboard. Guided by the analysed data, the energy manager can then make decisions after viewing the dashboard.

Thanks to the data, businesses and communities can opt for new tools or even change their production methods.

Big data isn't only useful to the Big Five (the largest IT companies in the world) to sell ads. Data is also useful in essential areas such as the energy transition sector.

In the field of energy, Big data helps to see consumption details and needs and, in turn, to reduce energy levels without compromising on the occupant’s sense of comfort. Everything is done to optimise flow rates and find a happy middle ground.

[1]    Source : Les Echos

Picture by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

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