Big data is a term that describes the large volume of data – both structured and unstructured – that inundates a business on a day-to-day basis. But it's not the amount of data that's important. It's what organizations do with the data that matters. Big data can be analyzed for insights that lead to better decisions and strategic business moves.
Big data is more than high-volume, high-velocity data.
Variety: The type of information captured in big data can come from a wide range of sources, including social media, videos, digital pictures, purchase transaction records, cell phone GPS signals, sensor-generated data and web click streams.
Velocity: Big data often comes in real time or near real time, which makes timely analysis critical. For example, transaction processing systems capture purchase details at point-of-sale terminals; this information must be processed quickly to support supply chain management and fraud prevention.
Variety: The type of information captured in big data can come from a wide range of sources, including social media, videos, digital pictures, purchase transaction records, cell phone GPS signals and web click streams.
In today's business world, the quantity of data is increasing dramatically, and analyzing large datasets—so-called big data—is becoming a key basis of competition, underpinning new waves of productivity growth, innovation and consumer surplus. Leaders in all industries are using analytics to derive insights that give them an edge over competitors. With these insights they are discovering new sources of value and reinventing entire business models and industries.
Big data is used for a variety of purposes. It can be used to analyze weather patterns, stock market trends, social media behavior, and more. Businesses use the data they collect to make better decisions, improve their marketing strategies (and thus their profits), and understand what's working and what isn't. Take Twitter, for example: the company has access to a huge amount of information about people's interests and preferences, which they can use to influence their own design decisions as well as sell advertising space on the site.
The advent of big data is changing our lives every day, and in ways that most of us can't even imagine. It's used to influence the way we drive, what we eat, and how we understand the world around us. From the mundane to the critical, here are just some of the many applications of big data in the world today.