• Terry Halvorsen of Samsung Electronics addresses the crowd at TechNet Asia-Pacific.
     Terry Halvorsen of Samsung Electronics addresses the crowd at TechNet Asia-Pacific.

When Data Is Too Much of a Good Thing

October 31, 2017
By Beverly Cooper


Storage is cheap, but speed, aggregation and mission suffer.


Data, in the world of Terry Halvorsen, is more like milk than wine. It does not get better with age, and if you leave it out too long, it will spoil. Halvorsen is chief information officer and executive vice president IT and Mobile Communication B2B Business, Samsung Electronics. “We are keeping and storing vast amounts of data that does not do anything for us," he explained during his keynote address at AFCEA TechNet Asia-Pacific.

You often hear that storage is cheap, but all that stored data has an impact on the speed of the data you want. It makes it harder to find the data you want or to aggregate it in a meaningful way. 

Security in the data-first world is important to have, but it must to be convenient enough for the mission user or they will not use it. Keeping the data off your phone is the biggest factor in mobile security, he believes. 

“Your phone should be a throwaway when it comes to the data on it,” Halvorsen explained, acknowledging that throwing away $1,000 phones is not something people usually do.

Mobility is the next game changer, as the former Defense Department CIO sees it. Mobility allows you to improve performance and save money, but government and industry are slow to recognize that. Paradigms need to change, he suggested.

Data is the most important thing, and the ones who win will be the ones who know how to extract value from aggregated data and put it into decision mode. Halvorsen explained that we have seen this play out with the election. 
There was manipulation of both data and platforms, using data streams designed to influence behavior. Think of what this could mean to the battle commander, he said. “The technology is there, but you have to think about the paradigm,” he added. 

Amazon is one of the most successful companies today because they “do speed with data” and are able to move and glean value from the data. There might be some defense applications here, Halvorsen emphasized.

He believes the people at Amazon may be the best at intelligence because they are going at it for retail, in a way that requires almost no human intervention. Government needs to think that way. “We need some data that can have no human touch other than for the decision,” he stated. 

Decision data is data that is refined enough a decision can be made in one step. People can do that with Amazon, and it changes how we think about data. 

The commercial world, not government, is driving technology today. While the government doesn’t need every gimmick, it needs to be close. It also needs to avoid customization as much as possible. From price and performance standpoint, customization is bad, Halvorsen stressed.

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