From Data to Smart Data

Smart data aims to fast provide readable, actionable, and usable insights directly from the point of collection before going to other analytics systems.

Digital Analytics
8 min
Digital Analytics
From Data to Smart Data

The discussion on data has been around for ages. In the business sense, the first big trend was "big data," which acknowledges the ever-increasing flow of data that businesses can tap into — given enough resources — and unlock valuable insights.

Now, businesses are making the move from data to smart data. While data has long existed, smart data encompasses tools, platforms, and processes that allow us to tap into it in whole new ways.

What is Smart Data?

The opportunities for smart data are plentiful. They can allow for even quicker decision-making compared to the already-groundbreaking results of big data.

With actionable insights produced by smart sensors in real-time, smart data is the next big thing. Here's how businesses are making use of it.

While the drive behind big data analytics is to filter data through advanced platforms, transform it, and analyze it in a way to produce visualizations and actionable information at the other end, smart data seeks to skip right to usable concepts.

Smart data is intended to be readable, and actionable, from the point of collection before it goes through any sort of analytics system. The way smart data works comes down to formatting, which provides relevant data that is comprehensible by human eyes from the get-go.

What makes "smart data" smart is that the collection point, the IoT devices, have enough intelligence to make some sense of the data right away.

This allows a device's sensor to output human-readable data that is useful before that data is sent off to a database for storage and/or detailed analysis.

Of course, no amount of smart data can help your business if you aren't ready for it. If you're thinking about how to improve your data analytics efforts, reduce response time, or grow your brand through new tech like IoT, it may be time to call on an expert.

Key benefits of Smart Data

Big data concepts continue to prove groundbreaking for their ability to transform endless amounts of structured and unstructured data into analytics that businesses can use. However, as we move from data to smart data, it's showing that new tech is pushing the limits even further.

While big data's big benefit is that it uses cloud technology to process massive data stores efficiently, smart data's big benefit is that it does not ship data off for processing.

Instead, smart data shines because it derives some meaning from sensor data right away, opening the doors for businesses, machines, and devices to take near-instant informed action.

This helps eliminate information silos and create insights-driven workflows from the bottom up.  

With this in mind, the key benefits of smart data include:

  • Using streaming analytics, information is captured and analyzed in real-time to produce actionable data.
  • Fast data processing makes note of exceptions, or events that fall outside of normal operations, and assesses them to support decision-making processes.
  • Smart data allows devices to share the output, create alerts, or even make a decision based on instant assessment, providing business intelligence automation.

Ultimately, the best way to understand the benefits of smart data is to consider the role and possibilities for it within the context of modern applications.

Examples of Smart Data

Examples like an IoT device that can monitor the temperature of a commercial refrigeration truck are straightforward, but IoT devices and the associated smart data have far more uses than that.

Ad personalization

As branding and personalization continue to be key deciding factors in consumers' purchases, businesses are investing millions into technology that can help them keep pace and deliver better customer experiences.

Personalized ads are just one of many applications for smart data in the marketing world, opening the doors to things like hyperlocal promotions.

Using smart data, a tech-forward marketing department can design interactives and campaigns.

Personalization means each ad morphs to meet the needs and desires of each individual consumer, providing the type of highly-targeted experience consumers crave.

These ultra-relevant experiences improve brand sentiment and increase loyalty while also driving sales.

Fraud prevention

The financial services sector was one of the earliest adopters of big data thanks to its ability to detect and help prevent fraud using advanced algorithms.

However, smart data is allowing banks and businesses to be more proactive, potentially saving millions a year in lost revenue.

Graph databases, for example, allow businesses to detect and fight fraud in real-time. These databases overcome some of the hindrances of traditional fraud prevention mechanisms while rapidly uncovering patterns that could denote fraudulent activity.


In healthcare, smart data improves the quality of patient care through continuous, real-time monitoring. Devices can track breathing rate, heart rate, blood pressure, and other vitals, alerting nurses when a patient wakes up, starts moving, or falls outside of normal range.

Smart data can also be applied to the diagnosis process, assisting healthcare professionals in assessing an individual's condition and what immediate actions they should take.

This has already proven powerful for providing quick care for patients suffering from a stroke, which can be difficult to diagnose in the ER and where rapid delivery of care is crucial to recovery.


The concept of "proactive maintenance" has permeated the manufacturing industry. The application of smart data is extremely promising for maintaining equipment and avoiding failure.

While smart data cannot stop a breakdown from occurring, it can alert teams to a potential issue in advance, giving them time to assess, maintain, or repair to help avoid costly downtime or further damage. What's more, smart data can help improve manufacturing efficiency.

By using smart data to maintain equipment and inform manufacturing processes, factories will achieve improved efficiency, reduced costs, and more consistent output, all of which directly impact revenue generation.

Should my business use Smart Data?

As a business, understanding the ever-advancing tech landscape and the opportunities that are becoming available is essential to maintaining your competitive edge.

While smart data is not yet behind the doors of every business, it's obvious that the Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly becoming engrained in every sector.

Failing to understand how smart data can be applied in your business will only put you one step further behind.

Even if your business isn't yet ready to adopt smart data, it's worth evaluating its potential advantages.

Utilizing Smart Data

Unlocking the benefits of smart data is only possible with the right tools and processes to back your strategy. When done right, smart data can help your company sharpen its competitive edge, cut costs, and improve end-user experiences.

Reach out to our team of experts to discuss how smart data works, what you should do to prepare for widespread IoT adoption, and how your business can benefit from joining the smart data movement.

Published on
March 16, 2022

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