What Is Big Data?
The recently coined term “big data” refers to the massive amounts of data that can be analyzed only by using elaborate machine-based systems and technologies. Big data is measured by volume, velocity, and variety of information. Creating, collecting, and analyzing huge volumes of information at high speeds is at the core of big data and the emergence of data science.
In a manner of speaking, big data resides in the cloud. Not having to rely on the ground servers for ever-growing storage (and careful maintenance), large companies and institutions have not had to worry about shedding information or selectively collecting it. With the emergence of data science and software systems such as Hadoop, companies are motivated to gather and store as much data as possible. This gives data scientists a vast landscape to scrutinize and sift through for valuable insights, and is potentially much less expensive for large and small companies.
The Dimensions of Big Data
Big data is measure by the four Vs: volume, velocity, variety, and veracity.
- Volume: Companies and institutions are gathering terabytes — even petabytes — of information from consumer transactions, communications, and more.
- Velocity: For banks and other financial institutions searching for fraud, time is of the essence. Data must captured, scrubbed, and analyzed in real time, as it streams in.
- Variety: Big data includes text, images, video, audio, and documents as well as millions of numbers and log files. A data scientist may extrapolate new findings from looking at these data sources collectively.
- Veracity: You can’t extract useful information from data until you know it is legitimate and trustworthy. Business leaders have made multi-million-dollar mistakes making decisions based on faulty data.
Credible Data = Useful Findings = Valuable Insights.
Big data presents an unprecedented opportunity for technology firms and the data scientists they employ to find insights and set the course for their business or product. Utilizing advanced analytics techniques, data scientists are ushering in a new frontier for analytics and productivity. Big data is making this all possible.