Big Data: A Surprising Climate Upside

Big Data: A Surprising Climate Upside

Big data will help us develop better solutions to mitigate the risks and effects of climate change.
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Green Builder Media CEO Sara Gutterman keeps tabs on how technological innovation is changing the green building space.

Monday, March 31, 2014 - 3:00pm

In our fast-paced, ever-changing, technology-driven world, big data has become the Holy Grail. Tracking and understanding customer behaviors, preferences, and purchasing decisions is now serious business.

Just ask Facebook, which paid $19 billion for WhatsApp’s 450 million instant messaging users and all of their precious metadata, or Google, who has agreed to purchase intelligent thermostat company Nest for $3.2 billion to gain insight into consumers’ behavior in their homes.

Big data has its benefits and drawbacks. Critics shrill against privacy issues, but once collected, data can be analyzed and used to track trends, enhance the performance of products and systems, improve resource efficiencies, modify behavior, and help us make better decisions in response to our changing climate.

While it’s generally accepted that big data offers more advantages than downsides, the industry has put Wall Street in a panic. Traditional investors and analysts are beside themselves, engaged in a desperate struggle trying to figure out how to value big data companies.