Designing for Data: Five Ideas for Storage

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We are enmeshed in a digital revolution, one where products, services and devices talk to each other, link and sync. As designers rely on sensors, processors and communication technology to make faster, smarter and more reliable products and richer experiences, massive volumes of data are being created. Global spending on IoT is forecast to surpass $772 billion in 2018, according to a new report by analyst company IDC. Research firm SINTEF estimates that by 2020, IoT connected objects will produce over 40,000 exabytes of machine-generated data.

This wealth of information, and the insights to be gleaned from it, has enormous potential to help designers learn, modify and build new products that better meet user needs. In some fields this is happening already as designers incorporate feedback from user groups into their final designs. In a recent article in “Advances in Mechanical Engineering,” authors point out that the future belongs to the companies and people who convert data into products. But for big data to be of big value, we need to think about how we can best manage and make sense of it all. Governments are already in the game—making laws and writing policy on things like data storage, use and management.