Author: Jeslyn Guo

In the world of technology, you have likely come across the phrase big data. But what really is big data? How does it intersect with business and society? In simple terms, big data is what it sounds like; large volumes of data that are complex to process and manage. The recognized definition of big data has three V’s: volume, velocity, and variety. Volume accounts for the vast amounts of outlets that data is collected from, such as smart devices, videos, social media, etc. Storing this much data would have been a large challenge in the past, but today cheaper storage and budding technology has made it possible. Velocity describes the unprecedented speed at which data is growing and evolving, and variety encapsulates all types of forms of data such as emails, videos, documents, etc.

While the official idea of big data is relatively new to the past couple decades, the concept dates back to the 1960s when data was just getting started. Over the years, people started to realize how much data was generated through social media, online streaming services, interconnected devices, etc., and the term was developed. Now, not only humans are generating data through online interactions but smart devices part of the Internet of Things are generating data as well.

Big data is important not because of its size, but because of what can be done with it. It is combined with high-tech analytics to determine a variety of business-related tasks, such as financial questions, time reeducations, optimization of resources, and much more. It can be used to determine the causes of stagnation or failure, thus, almost every industry makes use of big data for insights.

When businesses work with analyzing data, they first must develop a strategy for how to deal with the data they receive. In doing so, they must consider where their data flows from – data from smart devices and data from social media can reveal different information. Once a strategy is determined, data is accessed and stored. Today, big data can be stored in a traditional data warehouse, but the emergence of low-cost cloud storage is also a large resource. Finally, data is analyzed and conclusions are drawn from the results. Big data can even feed artificial intelligence and business insights, and once companies have drawn conclusions they can make accurate and informed decisions. Overall, organizations are more profitable and benefit from the data analytics process.

Big companies are successful because they can constantly analyze their data and develop new products. The increased volume of data that is cheaper and more accessible assists in making precise business decisions. Netflix can anticipate what customers want to see using big data analytics. Big data can be used to detect security fraud by identifying patterns in data that are hallmarks of fraud, leading to faster reporting and adaptation. While big data is still in its early stages, its impact is deeply felt, and its potential is unimaginable.