Big Data – What is it ?

There is tremendous increase in data accumulating throughout the globe in the last 5 years due to various sources like data from social media, digital pictures and videos in the web, eCommerce transactions, remote sensing technologies, software logs etc.  As per survey, 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last 2 years alone.

What is Big Data?

Big data usually includes data sets with sizes beyond the ability of commonly-used software tools to capture, curate, manage, and process the data within a tolerable elapsed time.

Big Data comprises of “3Vs”  – Volume, Variety, and Velocity.

Gartner defines big data as follows:

Big data are high-volume, high-velocity, and/or high-variety information assets that require new forms of processing to enable enhanced decision making, insight discovery and process optimization.

Examples of Big Data

Volume of Big Data

  •  10,000 payment card transactions made every second around the world.
  • 340 million tweets sent per day @ 4,000 tweets per second.
  • More than 5 billion people calling, texting, tweeting and browsing websites on mobile   phones.
  • 350 billion annual meter readings of power consumption.

Variety of Big Data

  • Traditional databases .
  • Text, sensor data, audio and video streams, email.

Velocity of Big Data

  • RFID tags in consumer products
  •  Cell phone GPS data
  • Stream of data coming off of any kind of sensor, say climate sensors sensing weather patterns, microphones listening for movement in a secure area, or video cameras scanning for a specific face in a crowd.

Uses of Big Data

Big Data is a gold mine that can be exploited to drive huge business profits as well as to improve social infrastructure at all levels. Some examples are -

  • Analyze social media data to gain insights on market trends and consumer preferences.
  • Analyze millions of SKUs to set optimal prices for products
  • Mine customer data for identification, acquisition and retention of potential customers.
  • Identify potential fraudulent behavior from million trade events created each day
  • Analyze retail transaction data to strategize sells, marketing and advertising campaigns.
  • Use healthcare data to improve and optimize health standards at all levels.

So if you are thinking that Big Data is all about size management, probably you are looking at one side of the coin. The other side of the coin about knowing the unknown, answering the unanswered, discovering the undiscovered, predicting the unpredicted and many more.

Look out for the next articles on Big Data where I would be discussing how technology is enabling Big Data mining, challenges encountered, innovative platforms being developed for Big Data , how organizations are harvesting Big Data to drive profits and how global governments are relying on Big Data to sustain national infrastructures.