Data is the lifeblood of many organizations.  In many instances, the process of how the data is collected may be as important as the actual data itself. Not only does collecting data help keep track of trends, but it can also help individuals and businesses make strategic and well-informed decisions. In recent years, data collection has helped drive innovation, and one of the main types of data responsible for this is known as fast data.


What is Fast Data?

This is an important question to answer when observing how data can help drive innovation. However, as there are varying forms of data (big data and fast data, to be specific), it’s important to understand how they differ.

Big data is exactly how it sounds. It is large volumes (hundreds of terabytes or even petabytes) of data that is being stored for a purpose. Often, it is used for the purposes of gathering historical information in order to gather further insight into a specific topic or trend. Some typical uses of big data include the ability to determine root causes of events, the ability to review periodic information, and the ability to detect fraudulent activities.

In comparison, fast data is what one may assume, is information in motion. Meaning the data is being gathered, stored, analyzed, or continually updated for varying purposes. So as new data is continuously being gathered it requires those who depend on this resource to stay flexible and aware.

Source: TIBCO Marketing, YouTube

Where is Fast Data -Driving Innovation?

While it may seem as though fast data has always been around, it’s important to highlight what industries are staying innovative because of it.

Transportation and Vehicle Travel

It may not seem obvious at first, but fast data is necessary and responsible for moving the transportation and vehicle industry forward. Whether it’s ride-hailing services or GPS map applications, each company requires fast data to be successful.

Ride-hailing corporations such as Uber, use fast data in order to keep the business thriving and profitable. Fast data is responsible for many of the desired features of ride-hailing. It allows apps to continuously receive data and update information. This includes but is not limited to providing live location status updates and instant communication between drivers and riders. The ability to offer these features are in fact what sets ride-hailing apps apart from basic taxi-hailing. Without fast data, services like Uber may be nothing more than another brand of taxi rather than an innovative service.

Source: Statistica, Frequency of ride-hailing apps usage by adults in the United States as of September 2018

Similarly, fast data will also be critical for the advancement and widespread use of autonomous vehicles. As these innovative cars will require constant and up-to-date data on their surroundings, automobile makers can’t achieve the autonomous-status without fast data. However, while discussing autonomous vehicles and how fast data will impact them, it’s important to discuss the varying levels of autonomous.

Levels of Autonomous Vehicles

Level 0 – Depends on human drivers to complete tasks such as accelerating, braking and steering.

Level 1 – Capable of adaptive cruise control and parking or lane-keeping assistance.

Level 2 – Requires a driver to remain alert at the wheel and have some control over the movements of the vehicle.

Levels 3 – Drivers will be able to be ‘hands-off’ while the car is in control of its movements on the road.

Level 4 – A human will need to be present while the vehicle is in motion in case of the event of an emergency.

Level 5 – The highest level of autonomous driving that will not require drivers or passengers to be hands-on while in the car for it to function safely.

Without fast data, algorithms and machines would not have the appropriate information to achieve the desired levels of autonomous driving mentioned above.


The retail industry is also changing because of fast data. Fast data provides retailers with greater transparency on consumer buying habits which enables them to boost consumer shopping habits. This happens in two ways. This first speaks to the capability of providing shoppers with more information about their online purchases. Specifically, by offering in-depth tracking options regardless of the time of day. Secondly, fast data allows for a better shopping experience as it provides information on inventory availability. Truly allowing for online shopping to occur and for in-store shopping to offer multi-store inventory counts. Meaning, if consumers would like to learn if another store has additional stock of a specific item, it is possible.



In addition to transparency, fast data is disrupting the parcel delivery industry. This is in part due to fast data rapidly transmitting vast amounts of information instantly and as a result, allowing for faster delivery options. One example of this is how Amazon offers numerous shipping options like same-day delivery and Amazon Pickup Points, as well as their experimentation with drone-delivery. Without up-to-date data, these innovative and fast delivery options would not be possible.

Source: Business Insider Intelligence

Fast data has proven itself to be critical to many industries when it comes to driving innovation. It enables businesses to improve in meeting consumer demands while pushing long-term global economic growth – a concept that is at the core of the Evolve Innovation Index Fund (TSX: EDGE). To learn more about this fund and how you can invest in it, click here.

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