Big Data in your kitchen


Historically, appliances have not generated a great deal of data. To this day, most are dumb. If you've been paying attention to consumer products over the last five years, though, you know that things are changing.


Exhibit A: Samsung's T9000 Refrigerator features Wi-Fi and Evernote. This means that your appliance will generate data by itself –and let consumers generate and analyze data from it. The implications are potentially game-changing. In the near future, one can imagine:

  • Your milk telling you that it's about to expire
  • Your fridge (via an app like Epicurious) telling you that you're missing salsa for tonight's Mexican dinner, obviating the need to go back to Whole Foods after you get home.
  • Your fridge suggesting that you make purchases to mesh with your new diet.

The Internet of Things is coming--and soon. Organizations will have to adapt and evolve--or let unprecedented opportunities slip away. From a data management perspective, this means deploying and utilizing new (read: Big Data friendly) solutions. What's more, organizations will have to hire employees with new skills. Low start-up costs, open APIs, cloud-based services, and SDKs mean that innovation is going to take place faster than ever before. More than ever, speed and agility will define organizational success.

Simon Says

Traditional notions of data are changing right before our very eyes. CXOs who believe that "data" is simply the content in their own internal databases are increasing being seen as anachronistic. More progressive leaders understand that data is everywhere, including--and especially--external to the enterprise.


Your organization is going to have to manage more data--and different types of data--in the future than it does today. Is it prepared? Are you?


About Author

Phil Simon

Author, Speaker, and Professor

Phil Simon is a keynote speaker and recognized technology expert. He is the award-winning author of eight management books, most recently Analytics: The Agile Way. His ninth will be Slack For Dummies (April, 2020, Wiley) He consults organizations on matters related to strategy, data, analytics, and technology. His contributions have appeared in The Harvard Business Review, CNN, Wired, The New York Times, and many other sites. He teaches information systems and analytics at Arizona State University's W. P. Carey School of Business.


  1. Phil, I can’t agree more. We will increasingly have to balance the use of internal data with exploiting external data.

    The intelligent kitchen is a nice way to understand this.

    Right now I’m working with how master data management can be optimized with the use of (big) reference data, that being the traditional external directories being supplemented by more open data in the public sector and other places and social network profiles.

  2. This is all wonderful, but who protects the privacy and can ensure that this data is not used for other purposes? Technology promises to save the world and it can, but it is being misused. This is not the same as misusing a car, this is a whole new dimension entirely.
    We are running too fast. Let's go there deliberately and with forethought.
    Please let me know what you think.

  3. Phil Simon

    Thanks for the comments, guys. Are we running too fast? Maybe. I'd argue that speed has long been an issue when faced with any emerging technology. Of course, no one is obligated to use these devices.

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