Big Data is known but what is small data?

It is quite a bold statement to say that big data is common and known these days. Many researchers conclude that Big Data is far from common these days for many companies. Especially when we look at small and medium enterprises. The Dutch Chamber of Commerce recently conducted a research towards the use of Big Data in this area. Conclusion is that many companies want to use Big Data but they do not know how or do not have the financial power to invest in Big Data. Earlier articles from my side already talked about the value of Big Data but never about small data. What is small data?

What is Small Data?

Let see if we can come up with an accurate definition. I found one on the website of the Small Data Group.

Small data connects people with timely, meaningful insights (derived from big data and/or “local” sources), organized and packaged – often visually – to be accessible, understandable, and actionable for everyday tasks. By Small Data Group.  The Small Data Group is a side project from former McKinsey and Yankee Group analyst and current Placester SVP of Marketing Allen Bonde

Also The Guardian talked about Small Data in a great blog by Rufus Pollock, Founder and Co-Director of the Open Knowledge Foundation, discusses why current hype around big data misses the point, and why the real revolution is small data, loosely joined.

Why Small Data?

Even though Big Data is seen as the problem solver and having all the answers. Small Data is in many situations enough to answer the questions. Especially when it implicates surroundings in your personal environment such as Energy Use or other IoT data generators. Everything processed in Excel is small data. Late Hans Rosling has shown us how to understand our world through population change or literacy. But many people did not know that he was doing this with small data. Small Data can be enough to find your answers so why blur all the answers with the amounts of data that Big Data unleashes.