Science fiction movies can offer glimpses into the future of technology and one instance from the “Minority Report” served as an example during the Internet Summit suggesting where big data could lead us.


In the scene, Tom Cruise’s character John Anderton is walking through a mall. Retail outlets scan and recognize him then push advertisements and offers to him. That could be our future, said Russ Gyurek, director of innovation, office of the CTO at Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) said. Gyurek spoke on the Internet Summit panel “Big Data: What It Really means for Marketers.

Tech giants Cisco and Lenovo, which both have major operations in the Triangle, are both pursuing initiatives to glean business insights from big data. But like the scenario in the Minority Report, a lot has to happen before that future becomes reality for companies and consumers

Part of the problem is that there’s so much data available and more data being created all of the time. Gyurek said that 90 percent of all data in existence has been created in the last two years.

“That’s not expected to slow, especially with 50 million new devices coming along,” he said.

But beyond the sheer volume of data companies need to have patience with these initiatives, said Lenovo VP & GM Ajit Sivadasan. Lenovo, which has executive headquarters in Beijing and Morrisville, has been working on a big data initiative for the past nine months – not nearly long enough to gain meaningful insight to solve any big problems.

In some companies, people underestimate what is required to analyze big data, Sivadasan said. It calls for a change in strategy, a cultural shift in understanding that the undertaking is put simply, big.

“This is a big data problem so you should expect a large amount of complexity,” Sivadasan said.

The marketing technologies depicted in the Minority Report are also complex. And added to the mix is the matter of privacy, Gyurek said. The technology could require things like analysis of a consumer’s credit limit and the purchase history. It could even become as specific as “based on what you bought in the last hour, are you in a spendy mood?” he said.

“To get to the Minority Report, it’s not going to happen tomorrow,” Gyurek said. “There’s a lot of steps in between.”