Quantity vs Quality – The “Big Data” Dilemma

Quantity vs Quality – The “Big Data” Dilemma

By: Chris Saltz

Date: October 26, 2015

Never before has the human race uttered so much while saying so little. At no time in history was there so much pointless sharing of the insignificant details of every aspect of the world around us. We are completely surrounded by an army of amateur journalists (basically anyone with Facebook or LinkedIN) that clog our minds with useless and often outright incorrect information. You know them…your family, your “friends”. And rarely, if ever, do we stop and think about the personal and collective consequences. We are the proverbial “frog in the water, with temperature rising imperceptibly”, as the journalist Johann Hari so eloquently described a world where the square footage of our dwellings is increasing while the connectedness we feel with others decreases every year (Everything You Think You Know About Addiction is Wrong, TED London, June 2015, Ted Talks)

The Internet of Things (IoT) now threatens to take this one step further. Our car will tell us when it’s sick, the baby’s diaper when it’s wet, and even our watch will alert us to what our phone in our pocket is thinking. And for this “information” we will sacrifice time, privacy, and something we usually don’t think about…meaningful thought and reflection, leading to meaningful purpose and action.

I wonder who is hard at work solving the world’s problems the way Dr Jonas Salk created the polio vaccine. There is certainly an army of bloggers letting us “know” about all this hard work (just take some time to visit,,, and But how can anyone “focus on the problem” the way Albert Einstein hammered away at the chalk board, eventually unlocking the mathematical mystery behind atomic energy? My educated guess…there ARE indeed focused individuals. They just don’t spend the time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or binge watching the last season of House of Cards that the average American does.

Unplugging may be the single key to advancing your goals today; heck, even setting your goals in the first place. Before you sign up for that next social media craze, and before you purchase that next information gadget, it might be wise to step back and take the time to clearly understand the What, Why, How, Who, When, and Where. Make your life count. Regardless of your take on Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot” theory (, you do matter. You matter to yourself and to those around you. So unplug for a moment, and get in the zone.

This is exactly what our firm does with our facility and real estate clients. We help them unplug; taking time to really think about what data they need, based on what this data will do for their business. We work together with them to capture their goals and plan their actions in a “Facility Technology Master Plan”. Far too often we see the commercial design & construction industry connect a device “just because”, increasing the cost of construction. And worse, this default approach leads to excessive costs to operate and maintain the hardware, software, database, and cyber-security…many times the initial cost of installing that “extra device”. The most intelligent building isn’t necessarily the one with the most gadgets. But it is always the one with the most intelligent human thought invested in the first place.

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