Big Data is a term you’ve probably heard before – but what exactly is it and how important is it to our daily lives?
The concept of Big Data is a simple one – it is, quite literally, big amounts of data. Amounts so big in fact, that they might seem impossible to process using conventional methods. With the world now in what we call a Digital Age, the amount of information stored about us and our behavior has never before been as massive – and it only continues to grow with every day.
But what can we do with such Big Data, and how massive of an industry it has already become? And what of data security management to keep our information safe? If you’re curious to find out – we’re here to answer!
The beginnings of Big Data – the Three V’s
The Three V’s is a concept connected to the very first definition of Big Data – they are its defining characteristics. These V’s stand for:
Volume deals with the sheer amount of data and its size on storage devices. While a single piece of information weighs virtually nothing on a grand scale of things, there are billions of us on this planet, and every single one of us consists of seemingly infinite potential data. This data, when summed up, takes an extraordinary amount of space.
According to studies, an average person generates over 1.5 megabytes of data every second! This accumulation of data requires an ever-expanding storage space – after all, we need to store all this information somewhere.
Velocity refers to the speed at which new data is generated. This is a challenge to Big Data companies, as that speed is constantly increasing, often outperforming R&D capabilities. Velocity is also connected with the speed at which companies can process and analyze this data, so as to not create a seemingly infinite backlog of information that will be indecipherable.
Variety is an interesting concept, related to the nature of the data itself. As we move from structured data to unstructured or semi-structured, the data becomes harder and harder to process. Big Data technologies focus on these types of data, trying to make heads or tails out of a massive, ever-increasing amount of very varied data – a truly colossal task.
As the field of Big Data progressed, more variables were introduced to the definition. These depend on the provider of said definition, but most seem to follow the “V” trend set earlier. These can include:
- Value, as in what you can actually get from stored data and to what extent you can make future predictions based on it.
- Variability,related to Variety, but pertaining to the ever-changing formats, sources, and structures of Big Data between analyses.
- Veracity, as in how truthful the data seems and to what extent you can rely on it. Large amounts of low quality data might not be as useful as smaller amounts of high quality data – this is still a topic of an ongoing debate.
Is Big Data affecting my life?
Even if you’re not aware of it, Big Data is already a big part of your life – for example, in the form of AI.
Yes, you heard us right – AI isn’t exclusively a thing of science fiction anymore. In fact, you might be dealing with AIs. Smart assistants like Alexa or Siri, nowadays very widespread across the world, wouldn’t have been possible without Big Data – or at least, not in the scope, they exist within today.
The same goes for technologies like self-driving cars by Tesla – by analyzing humongous amounts of data, developers are able to recreate human behavior that would have otherwise been thought impossible to mimic by software. Machine Learning and Deep Learning especially are heavily based on Big Data, using it to allow programs to continuously learn the same way humans do.
What’s Big Data’s worth?
In 2019, the Big Data industry achieved a worldwide revenue of $67 billion and is still rapidly growing – especially with the increasing popularity of cloud-based storage solutions. Experts estimate that the Big Data analytics market will break the barrier of $100 billion by 2023!
However, as more and more data is generated, it becomes more and more of an issue for companies – especially companies without the means to process it. According to Forbes, over 90% of companies struggle with managing unstructured data, highlighting just how important it is to invest in Big Data analysis.
As you can see, Big Data is a booming industry – one definitely worth looking into, no matter who you are, as you’re way more likely to be influenced by it than not, even if you don’t think you are.