It's Big Data week and Missoula is one of a handful of cities taking part. The event is meant to teach people about data like emails, internet browsing and what it means.
Big Data Week is billed as one of the most unique platforms focused on social, political and technological impacts of data. Missoula has businesses that work with big data, like the University of Montana and LMG Security.
"A lot of people don't realize but there's actually more bits of data on the internet every day, then there are grains of sand on all the beaches in the world. So every single day, we're generating vast amounts of data,” said Sherri Davidoff, Founder and Senior Security Consultant at LMG Security.
Davidoff helps her clients find malicious activity on their laptops and cell phones. She says it's important for people to understand what big data means.
"How is this being analyzed? How does that affect our lives? Is this something that insurance companies will someday be able to analyze to charge us different insurance rates, or maybe our web surfing habits will be monitored and used to advertise to us?" said Davidoff.
"Because of the way we are connected to social media, we are producing a lot more data. That means if we want to analyze social media, or biological data or traffic data, we're going to have to find new ways to analyze the massive amounts of data we're collecting," said Eric Tangedahl, Assistant IT Director with the School of Business Administration.
The bottom line is simple, big data has changed our world, and these people want to know how to use it.
"It's exciting to see Montana emerge as a global player in high-tech," said Davidoff.
Analyzing data can help businesses make future decisions about things like what kind of advertising potential customers would like to see.
If you're interested in Big Data Week, click here to see the list of events that are happening until Sunday, May 11. All events are open to the public.