Expert highlights importance of big data in statistics, communication

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By Okeoghene Akubuike

Dr Monday Adenomon, an expert in data science and machine learning, says big data has the potential to produce more relevant and timely statistics than traditional sources of official statistics.

Adenomon, Associate Professor of Econometrics and Financial Time Series, Nasarawa State University, said this in his presentation at the ongoing 1st Bi-Annual Meeting of the National Consultative Committee on Statistics (NCCS) 2024, on Wednesday in Keffi.

The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that the meeting, organised by the National Bureau of Statistics(NBS), has the theme “Understanding Big Data and Data Science: A New Perspective to Data Analysis and Dissemination.”

He said that big data referred to larger, more complex data sets, especially from new data sources.

“This data is characterised by the fact that it contains greater variety (texts, images, audios, videos etc), arriving in increasing volumes and with more velocity.

“These data sets are so voluminous that traditional data processing software just can not manage them.”

He said the NBS and other agencies could explore the potential of big data by combining big data with official statistics and replacing official statistics with big data.

“Also by filling new data gaps, that is by developing new ‘big data – based’ measurements to address emerging phenomena (not known in advance or for which traditional approaches are not feasible).

“ One big advantage that NBS has is the existence of infrastructures to address the accuracy, consistency and interpretability of the statistics produced.

“By incorporating relevant big data sources into their official statistics process, NBS is best positioned to measure accuracy and ensure the consistency of the whole systems of official statistics.

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“Also, interpretation while constantly working on relevance and timeliness.”

Adenomon said big data could be used by the NBS and other agencies in traffic and transport statistics, economic activity statistics, and social media statistics.

He said big data could also be used by the NBS for price statistics to assist in Consumer Price Index(CPI) computation, tourism statistics, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) usage statistics.

The expert said data science on the other hand was the study of data to extract meaningful insight for business and society.

“It is a multidisciplinary approach that combines principles and practices from the fields of mathematics, statistics, artificial intelligence and computer science/engineering to analyse large amounts of data.”

He said building new skills, developing/embracing new methodologies, appropriate ICT infrastructure and examining legal and ethical issues were required to embrace data science.

Adenomon also said identifying, accessing, evaluating, and using new data sources were also required.

He said some of the benefits of data science for NBS and other agencies included fresh insights from new data sources, frequency and timeliness of data, cost savings, and utilising the potential of improved computing power.

“Big data and data science present ample opportunities to foster data analytics and dissemination by the NBS and other agencies.

He said to overcome the challenges of big data, the NBS with other agencies should ensure strategic coordination, legal framework, IT Infrastructures and human resources. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Vivian Ihechu

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