Facebook announced on Monday, October 14th 2013 that it had acquired Onavo, a three year start-up, ostensibly to use its data-saving capabilities for a project aimed at making the Internet available to billions of people round the world who are not online.
“We expect Onavo’s data compression technology to play a central role in our mission to connect more people to the internet, and their analytic tools will help us provide better, more efficient mobile products,” a Facebook spokeswoman told Reuters.
We ask the question, what if there is more than meets the eye here?
In our recent report, Capturing Big Data in Social and Detection Systems: Market Opportunities and Challenges 2013 – 2019, we evaluate social and detection systems as mechanisms to drive more unstructured (e.g. Big Data) for business analytics. The combined Facebook/Onavo meets both of these criteria.
While on the surface Onavo offers only applications to management data and usage from a consumer driven perspective, the capability is there transform it into a detection tool for Facebook to monitor virtually any aspect of smartphone usage including presence, location, usage (voice, texting, other applications), idle time and place, etc.
Detection systems include mobile phone data streams, location determination technologies, subscriber database management repositories, NFC/RFID readers/tags, and more.
Could this be Facebook’s hidden motive behind the acquisition? Perhaps no, but we argue that they would be foolish not to consider this as social and detection systems represent the next big wave of Big Data.
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