Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Your Life in a Wal-Mart Database

What to do with all that information "[Wal-Mart] the largest in the world, now also maintains the world's largest database, 280 Terabytes, as it seeks to better understand how to efficiently serve its customers. For instance, it increasingly uses Radio Frequency ID tags -- tiny 25-cent data-holders affixed to a box of razors and other goods. Wal-Mart uses RFID to track its inventory through much of the supply chain. Soon the tags will only cost pennies and start going on the razors themselves. Talk about increasing the amount of data to store and analyze! (I listened in the cool new $10 shirt I bought Sunday at a local Wal-Mart store.)"

"And in the not too distant future, data may be able to interact with other data without human intervention. That was the message of Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee. He talked about the glorious future of something called the "semantic web," a concept that most people aside from programmers will probably never understand. His talk here didn't help. One hopeful journalist from the Economist asked Berners-Lee to give an example of how companies could make or save money using it, but he didn't have an answer. He doesn't have to. He's an academic. Businesspeople here assured me this is a big deal we'll hear more about. "

I thought I'd read this before but couldn't find it in a previous entry. Although I did find a previous claim that the biggest database was France Telecom's at 30 TB.
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