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Data-driven decisions

Ike Señeres .

GOING back to the basics, information is one way and communications is two way. Information is processed data and so therefore in theory, there could be no information if there is no data. Originally, voice, text and data are the services that go through the telecommunications carriers, also known as the telcos, short for communications companies. We are all familiar with voice, by way of mobile calls, and with text, by way of Short Messaging Services (SMS). As we originally understood it, data was neither voice nor text, and for lack of a better name, data is the raw information that goes through a carrier. As we know it now however, what we now know as “data” has somehow morphed into the carrier itself, because voice now goes through Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP), and text now goes through VOIP as well, albeit rebranded as “chat”. For lack of a better name, and for all intents and purposes, this virtual carrier could be called a “data plan”.

You hear it all the time now, people would ask you if you have “data”, referring to a hotspot or Wi-Fi, but certainly not referring to raw information. Do not worry however, because the old meaning of “data” is still the same if used in the context of “Big Data” and “data analytics”. Do not get confused, because “Big Data” does not mean a big carrier, and “data analytics” has nothing to do with analyzing the carrier. Do not also worry, because telecoms jargon is full of moronic and oxymoronic terms that have somehow gained popular acceptance. In a recent forum, I asked what the term “fixed wireless” really means, because it sounds like an oxymoron. Again, do not worry because if we have learned to accept the term “wireless landline”, we could learn to accept any other oxymoronic term.

There was a time when practically everyone who was tech savvy would be using email, and anyone who is not using email would be behind. Fast forward to today however, mostly everyone seems to be using messenger apps already and you would be considered behind if you are still using email. On a grander scale, my friend from Taiwan tells me that over there, nobody is using text messaging already because mostly everyone is already using messenger apps. What that means is that anyone still using text messaging would be considered behind. Moreover, he says that mostly everyone is already using internet protocol voice calls instead of the regular mobile phone calls. The reason for that he said, is that in Taiwan, data plans are very cheap, and some plans would actually cost as low as 500 pesos per month unlimited.

I think it would be alright for a few low tech people to be left behind when the many more tech savvy people would move forward, but it would be such a disaster if our whole country is left behind at a time when many other countries are already moving forward in modern messaging. At one time, there was a saying that if you do not do electronic commerce, you are already left behind. Nowadays however, that saying seems to have changed, because nowadays it could already be said that if you are not now doing electronic commerce, you will not be doing any commerce at all. You can tell that to all the small business owners who have totally lost their local markets, while younger kids who are only as old as their grandchildren are selling online to the rest of the world, doing electronic commerce of course.

Many years ago, we could say that we could do data driven decisions for as long as we have processed information from raw data. Nowadays however, there is already a double meaning, because we now need a mobile data plan to access the information that we need via mobile phones. Admittedly, many users are still using mobile phones, but it seems that more people are gaining access through Wi-Fi at home or at work. Regardless of how we access the internet however, the bottom line is the same, that it should not only be faster, it should also be cheaper and safer, the latter meaning that it should be compliant with data privacy and data security standards. That sounds like walking and chewing gum at the same time, but then again this is not for the dumb or dumber.


E-mail: iseneres@yahoo.com


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